A Waterfront revival: Two years after buying closed tavern, Holyoke couple set to open new event venue

Justina Cruz, the mother of Evelyn Colón, co-owner of  the Waterfront, a new event venue in Holyoke, looks out the window overlooking the Connecticut River from the Main Street location.

Justina Cruz, the mother of Evelyn Colón, co-owner of the Waterfront, a new event venue in Holyoke, looks out the window overlooking the Connecticut River from the Main Street location.

The Waterfront event venue on Main Street in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón.

The Waterfront event venue on Main Street in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Sweet Dreams Bridal boutique at the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke, owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón.

Sweet Dreams Bridal boutique at the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke, owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón. STAFF PHOTOS/CAROL LOLLIS

Evelyn and Carlos Colón, owners of the Waterfront, will host a grand opening of the new event venue on Main Street  in the old home of the Waterfront Tavern on Saturday.

Evelyn and Carlos Colón, owners of the Waterfront, will host a grand opening of the new event venue on Main Street in the old home of the Waterfront Tavern on Saturday.

The bridal dressing room at the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón.

The bridal dressing room at the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Justina Cruz, the mother of Evelyn Colón, co-owner of  the Waterfront, a new event venue in Holyoke, looks out the window overlooking the Connecticut River from the Main Street location.

Justina Cruz, the mother of Evelyn Colón, co-owner of the Waterfront, a new event venue in Holyoke, looks out the window overlooking the Connecticut River from the Main Street location. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

 Carlos Colón, owner of the  Waterfront event venue in Holyoke, talks about the vision for the space while on the deck of the venue.

Carlos Colón, owner of the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke, talks about the vision for the space while on the deck of the venue. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

The LED dance floor of the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón.

The LED dance floor of the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

The deck of the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón.

The deck of the Waterfront event venue in Holyoke owned by Evelyn and Carlos Colón. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

By JAMES PENTLAND

Staff Writer

Published: 05-01-2024 3:26 PM

Modified: 05-01-2024 6:07 PM


HOLYOKE — After almost two years of reconstruction and remodeling, the Waterfront, Holyoke’s new event venue, is ready for its public unveiling.

Owners Carlos and Evelyn Colón and family will host a grand opening Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with specialty vendors, free raffles, a photo booth and DJ.

The ceremony will be a milestone for the Colóns, who bought the former Waterfront Tavern in June 2022 from Michael Rigali. Carlos, a building contractor, and Evelyn, who ran a bridal shop on South Street for 22 years, decided to take the plunge and create their own event venue.

Two years on, the light-filled 6,000-square-foot space at 920 Main St. is ready to host parties and events of any size up to 250 people — weddings, birthdays, quinceaneras and more.

“It was crazy,” Carlos Colón said of the process of remodeling the old fabric factory. “We took out eight dumpsters of trash.”

The result is a venue with remodeled windows and floors, new heating system and elevator, chandelier-style overhead lights, an LED dance floor — and a view of the Connecticut River up to the I-391 bridge.

Evelyn Colón’s boutique, Sweet Dreams Bridal, occupies a room near the entrance.

Colón credits his son with doing 60% of the work. His two daughters also will be helping out at events. The Waterfront has already hosted three parties, including a birthday and a baby shower.

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On Tuesday, as DJ Carlos Frias of Cumba Entertainment set up the sound system for the grand opening, Colón was preparing to finish a new paint job on the spacious deck. Down below are several structures, including a covered stage, which he hopes to put back into service this summer, and the former Bungalow, an after-hours spot popular with those in the know, according to Colón.

The opening show on the stage will be a choral concert, he said. After getting the stage in shape, his next plan is to clean up the exterior walls on the ground level and install colored lights on them to bring a touch of the island to the space.

Colón, 55, said he was born in Puerto Rico, spent his childhood in Holyoke, went back to the island when he was 9, staying 10 years before he came back to Holyoke.

Despite the endless hours spent bringing the Waterfront back to life on top of running his own company, he’s not through with making plans for the property.

“I’m thinking of starting a food park at the back,” he said.

The Waterfront can be contacted via email at waterfronteventvenue@gmail.com, or at 413-466-2259.