Mayor Phil Gordon hosted his last “State of Downtown” event Friday evening at The Duce in downtown Phoenix, trading in city business for some fun.
Unlike in previous speeches — during which Gordon has spoken of his plans for the coming year, at times announcing new tenants and renovations — Friday’s message was short and simple.
“My plan: I am going to stay in Phoenix and help continue to build downtown,” he said.
This plan seemed to be good news to those in attendance, who were promised a “celebration of eight years in progress in our downtown community” by invitations.
The event certainly delivered.
The celebration included entertainment, such as Arizona’s Lady Gaga, who sang a rendition of her namesake artist’s “Poker Face,” and live band Hot Birds and the Chili Sauce.
Also in attendance were circus-like characters, including a juggler, cowgirl-clad stilt walker and a man in a glittery American flag suit.
Attendees said it was a good way to celebrate Gordon’s eight years in office.
“It is definitely a unique, much more relaxed mixer that allows for a lot more interaction with the office and guests,” said Brigitte Jordan, community relations coordinator for the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine – Phoenix.
Jordan said the event was a fun way to do the last State of Downtown because it captured Gordon’s unique leadership style.
“It is a great tribute to him,” she said.
The small event of about 60 guests included employees of sponsors, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and the City of Phoenix, as well as many “old friends,” according to Gordon. The free celebration ran about two hours and included a mini-buffet and a full bar.
The event was held at The Duce, a restaurant-bar-shop-warehouse owned by Gordon’s personal friends, Steve and Andi Rosenstein.
“We’re good friends. He throws support our way and we do the same,” Steve Rosenstein said, adding that he has gotten close to Gordon over the past year and a half and is grateful for all the work he did for the downtown area.
“He’s the champion of downtown,” he said.
Gordon’s speech turned out to be more of a thank you list than a political address. He mingled throughout the crowd before he took the stage, shaking hands and thanking many individuals for coming.
“Thank you to all for your donations, friendship and support,” he said to the crowd.
He also thanked ASU, UA and community colleges for bringing more life into the downtown area.
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