C h a p t e r 11 I mp l ementat i on S t r at eg i e s
duration and provide opportunities for the participants to eat or go shopping before or after the event. As part of this smaller format programming, the plan recommends that multi-cultural events be included to diversify the potential user base. Inserting specific, one-time and “theme” events into the normal routine enlivens a program’s overall success by creating opportunities for participants to learn about different cultures, histories, and experiences within the program’s recurring cycle. For instance, Friday Night on White could host a special “Latin Jazz” event one week and invite local or regional performers and vendors from the Hispanic community to showcase their talents and goods. In this way, multicultural events become educational community forums that foster exchange, dialogue, and celebration between different groups within a civic setting. This idea does not seek to exclude large events, which are generally limited to one per season, but emphasize the momentum generated by consistent, smaller initiatives. Also, smaller events should continue to use the range of public spaces found throughout the downtown area; however, the regularity of an individual event in one location like “Friday Night on White” makes for a reliable, consistent destination for the casual attendee. Bring the Children Downtown The regular presence of children in the downtown promotes the value of this area for future generations and adds an unmistakable vibrancy. Children form relationships with places through their experiences. As such, it is important to program activities for children regularly in the downtown. Downtown Davidson, NC, programs an annual Halloween Parade. Beginning at 5 PM, more than a thousand children line
up on Main Street in their costumes and parade down Main Street and gather candy from the merchants. This event draws from all of the neighborhoods in the community (and many from outside the town) and is as much a social event for the adults as it is a candy-fest for the children. Seniors in the community set up chairs and enjoy the wide diversity of costumes for the one and a half hour event. After the parade, the restaurants are full of families who eat dinner before heading into the neighborhoods for the formal candy gathering. This relatively simple event requires very little effort in the way of logistics. Simple advertising in the Town’s newsletter and a notice in the school packets are all that might be necessary to kick off this type of activity. This event is a nice tie-in to the Halloween Spooktacular at Flaherty Park Community Center. Bring the College Students Downtown While the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is within walking distance of the core, the presence of over 3,000 students is not readily apparent in downtown. Recently, more students can be seen downtown, but that user group can be drawn to downtown more often through strategic programming and events marketed to their demographic.
RECOMMENDATION 11A: Promote more frequent, smaller events in downtown that are more seasonally predictable and recurring.
RECOMMENDATION 11B: Attract a broad array of user groups, specifically children and college students, to downtown through strategic programming.
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