(Photo by John Cook) Strings of lights are shown above North Main Street in Vassar at dusk late last week. Separate strings of lights were connected between buildings above a nearby parking lot where bands perform summer concerts along North Main Street.

Bay City draws visitors to its “Third Street Star Bridge,” but Vassar now has, well, something similar.

Vassar city employees teamed with Vassar-based Cooper Electric last week to attach strings of LED lights between buildings above North Main Street and between buildings above a parking lot where bands perform summer concerts.

The project, coupled with completion of music-themed murals on the walls of three buildings serving as the backdrop for the concert venue, has brightened up downtown Vassar.

“I love the new lights,” Vassar City Council member Melissa Armstrong said at Monday’s council meeting.

Cellphone photos of the aerial light display have appeared online, though the first summer concert under the new lights – set for tonight – has been canceled due in part to state limits on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings.

“They’re nice LED lights that are tied in to the streetlights and will come on at night with the streetlights, and turn off when the streetlights do,” said Andrew Niedzinski, Vassar’s city manager, who has seen what similar strings of night lights did when connected between buildings above Third Street in Bay City.

“That transformed that area,” said Niedzinski, a former Bay City city commissioner.

A website touting the Bay City attraction – where visitors sometimes pose for selfies with the strings of lights above them – states the Star Bridge is “illuminating love, life and art in downtown Bay City.”

Vassar’s music-themed murals along North Main Street were painted by Frankenmuth artist Melissa Courville.

Vassar raised funds for the music-themed murals and the strings of night lights via the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. The city combined that revenue with a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Public Spaces Community Places program.

Tonight’s concert was to feature The Sinclairs Band, but the gathering would have had to total less than 100 people to comply with an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer designed to limit spread of COVID-19.

It wasn’t immediately clear at Monday night’s city council meeting whether The Sinclairs Band will perform at a later date. Other scheduled concerts include Jedi Mind Trip at 5:30 p.m. July 15, followed by The Strickler Brothers on July 22.

Each show lasts from 5:30-8:30 p.m., with Dueling Pianos set to perform Aug. 12 and The Rock Show concluding the concert series Aug. 26.

Concert admission is free, and though some seating is provided, many audience members bring their own lawn chairs.

Tom Gilchrist is a staff writer for The Advertiser. He can be reached at gilchrist@tcadvertiser.com.