Main Street Fayette’s final event of 2018, Downtown LIVE!, will be held this Friday in downtown Washington C.H. from 5-9 p.m.
Downtown LIVE! is a multifaceted event that will include a shop hop, food trucks, live music and free activities for families. Two of the downtown shops will be hosting visits with Santa, streets will be lined with inflatables and decor, storefront windows will display live Christmas themes, carolers will perform favorite Christmas songs, and there will be a scavenger hunt for Christmas bells, which will be scattered throughout the downtown businesses.
Chelsie Baker, the Washington C.H. economic development director, took time to reflect on this past year’s efforts to revitalize the downtown area.
“Shortly before starting my position with the city, I met with my superiors to discuss focus areas for this position: industrial, commercial and downtown,” Baker said. “After the meeting, I spoke to three members from city council, two of whom shared words of encouragement. The third, although encouraging, was very upfront with me about what I was ‘getting myself into.’ She said, ‘Chelsie, downtown is going to be your greatest challenge. You have a very difficult job ahead of you and I hope that you have the tenacity to stick with it.’”
Baker said she left the city building that day feeling a little discouraged and asking herself, “What did I get myself into?”
The first several months for Baker were spent in and out of downtown businesses.
“I met with almost every business/building owner, and did a lot of listening,” she said. “I heard things like, ‘little parking,’ ‘dilapidated buildings,’ ‘high business turnover’ and ‘cheap rent,’ to name a few. These are not things you want to hear when downtown is listed as one of your key responsibilities. Needless to say, council member (Kendra) Hernandez was right. Downtown needed a lot of work. But it also needed a new perspective from its community and businesses.”
At the beginning of this year, nearly 30 business owners gathered in the second floor conference room at the city administration building to discuss two common goals: the return of Main Street Fayette and the revitalization of downtown.
Since that meeting, Main Street members and downtown business owners have spent many hours planning and organizing all the events that were hosted this past year, according to Baker. All of this hard work has culminated in the last event of 2018, Downtown LIVE!
“Not only are we hoping to generate some foot traffic for our downtown businesses, but we are hoping to bring some life back to the heart of our community,” Baker said.
On Friday, activities will run from 5-9 p.m., and at 7 p.m. the “SupaFun Band,” a roaming party band, will make an appearance.
“Please join us this Friday evening as we close out the year with our last shop hop of 2018, Downtown LIVE!,” said Baker.