Sunday, January 30, 2011

Downtown Marion, Inc.
Six Month Review of Activities

On June 26 2010, the downtown festival Celebrate Summer
featured 75 historic cars, music, food, organ grinders, wood carvers and art booths. We co-produced this with the Marion County Historical Society as a fund raiser for them.   A volunteer committee of 11 members worked 6 months to bring this “car museum” and art festival to the streets of downtown Marion for residents to enjoy for free.

 Monthly Art Walks featuring music, poetry, and art displays in various downtown locations on the second Friday of each month.

Summer months involved the sale of street banners that served a two fold purpose.  
We do this to have the banners as a visual welcome to our city; this year touting our fantastic higher educational facilities of MTC and OSUM.  But we also do this as a principle fundraiser to help cover other expenses our board incurs.   We felt it was important to hang these before the Popcorn Festival to welcome the thousands of visitors to Marion and put a festive face forward.  When possible, our manager attended the Popcorn Festival meetings to offer support from our Downtown Board.

September 17 was a joint effort with Tri-Rivers faculty and students, the United Way Staff and Downtown Marion for the students to physically work downtown planting, raking,
washing, decorating windows, Make A Difference Day Giving pride and understanding about their hometown was a gratifying effort for those involved. 

Fall Festival October 2 in Busby Park was a wonderful success. Again so many varied groups came together to make this a reason to enjoy the unique qualities of our town. It featured free cookies, cider, and pumpkins from Timothy Lutheran Church. The Whetstone Woodcarvers carved the pumpkins on site while the children waited and watched. The Humane Society brought adoptable dogs. Heart of Ohio Mentoring gave away free books to the children and helped them make bird feeders. And a musician was playing various instruments and explaining to the children what each was and how to play them. The number of grandparents, parents and children that attended was heartwarming. Again this festival was held to show the residents of Marion what a unique and friendly town they live in. We also had special sidewalk sales, a church booth selling homemade goods, Lawrence Orchard’s apples and cider, a mum sale by the Altrusa Club to make money for their charitable causes. The area store owners all offered special sale items that day.
Christmas Open houses were held Nov. 6 to highlight the many downtown area merchants and the unique items they offer.  Carolers roamed the streets and merchants reported good sales with this added push of buying local.

In downtown Marion on Dec. 4 the annual “Peanut Push” was held to make money for the Junior Service Guild’s Christmas Clearinghouse for deserving families from 10 to 11:00. Beginning at 11:30 was a 5K race. The annual Christmas Parade kicked off from 1:00 to 2:00 with thousands lining the streets. This parade was three times the size of past parades and while we received great praise for it, my favorite comment was from an elderly gentleman who simply replied,” well, that was worth coming to! ”Other comments said it reminded them of Marion when they were young." Isn't that warm friendly feeling exactly what this board is striving for? How exciting our momentum is taking Marion there. A committee of 6 volunteers and 25 float builders accomplished this return to yesterday‘s proud parade. The side benefit was the praise from the area merchants that said their cash registers rang because of the activities. After the parade free cookies and hot chocolate were given away at City Hall and the Palace Theater held a free movie for families which resulted in a packed house.

 The same evening of Dec. 4th we held our first
Gala of Trees Auction generous area businesses sponsored the decorated trees. The luncheon on Friday was well attended and the Sat. evening cocktail party/auction as a lively affair. Again, we are grateful for the money raised to help support the board’s many activities.

On New Years Eve, dozens of Marion Downtown volunteers proudly offered “Our Night Marion” to compliment the Pop and Drop at midnight.

Each age group of Marion citizens had activities to enjoy. Families attended free crafts and movies at the Palace Theater, while in the May Pavilion the Palace sponsored a $75 per couple dinner dance.

For middle school students the Marion Recreation Department was rented to offer safe, supervised crafts, food and a dance at no cost to the families.

High school students were treated to a dance and food at Apex Church 162 W. Center for just a $5 ticket.

At Park Place, 143 W. Center, a beautiful disco themed dance rocked the night for partiers 21 and older. This ticket was just $15 per person or $25 per couple. Park Place took on a club atmosphere that you would see in New York City with a DJ, flashing lights, videos, disco dancers free appetizers and a cash bar.  At midnight everyone met at the corner of Center and Prospect Streets and took part in the count down and ball drop ushering in the New Year. Who says there’s never anything to do in Marion! 

While the six months of activities just mentioned are impressive, the Marion Downtown Inc. is very proud of their decision to join Main Street which will give our citizens further guidance in activities and goals for rejuvenating the economy of Marion.  We are thankful that our City Council members reconsidered the mayor’s recommendation to dropping support to Downtown Marion, Inc.  This financial support is a requirement to keep Marion’s Main Street status.  The year ahead will be demanding, but with the continued support of our local citizens and volunteers we will see Downtown Marion Thrive once again.

Want to get involved with your Marion Downtown organization and help with the fun? Drop us a line!

No comments:

Post a Comment