FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Festivals, concerts and the annual Christmas tree – Sundance Square Plaza now hosts them all in Fort Worth.

Thursday, the Square began its five-year anniversary celebration.

The spot that wants to be known as the living room of the city, is celebrating five years of giving people a place to gather in Fort Worth, and five years of giving Sundance Square an actual square.

Sundance Square Plaza (photo credit: Tom Riehm/CBS 11 News)

“Before, it was just two parking lots,” said Lindsey Ross, who owns the Schakolad chocolate store across from the plaza.

That was before Ross opened her second business near the square, Houston St. Toy Company, an opportunity she said the plaza supported by drawing more families downtown.

“It happened quickly, but obviously over the years you could see the growth of more and more people coming downtown,” she said.

In the first year the plaza opened downtown, Sundance Square president Johnny Campbell said retail sales in the 35-block retail and office space jumped 20 percent. They were up double digits the next three years.

“That’s all related to the traffic and energy, just the vibrancy the plaza has created,” he said.

Sundance Square Plaza (photo credit: Tom Riehm/CBS 11 News)

Campbell said the success supported by 150 events a year now in the plaza also helped growth expand outward into downtown. Rather than just a place populated during workdays or weekends, it’s populated at all hours, all year round.

“From the very outset, we have thought of this, the plaza as the living room of our city,” he said. “And if it works that way, then it’s working.”

The anniversary celebration continues all day Friday with donuts shaped like a “5” being given away in the morning.

Five-dollar gift cards will be handed out to random shoppers during the lunch hour.

A comedy performance and concert starts Friday at 5:30 p.m.