How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
How do you grow historic downtown Madison into a destination where community members want to gather and spend their time?
One step forward and one event at a time.
For years, many have desired to see Madison’s quintessential downtown area serve a bigger purpose as a destination for residents and visitors alike. Though progress has continued steadily throughout the last couple of decades with revitalizing this area of Madison, several business owners along Main Street are finally ready to kick it into high gear and put in the work to see this progress move along fast.
Shannon Fisher and Brandy Booth, co-owners of Lemon & Lavender, along with Melinda Sanders (Filthy Gorgeous on Main), Tammy Hall (Main Street Cafe + Lanier House Tea Room), Opie Balch (Opie Balch Realty), Walt Anderson, Larry Anderson, Cindy Sensenberger, and others have come together to form a team that is committed to planning and executing downtown events all year long that will hopefully have positive economic impacts on the area as well as offer new outing opportunities for residents and visitors to the city.
The Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison was officially born in early 2022 when the aforementioned business owners and land owners came together to discuss how to draw more people to the downtown area.
Shannon Fisher says that the initial main objective was to come up with ideas that would “collectively help bring people back to the downtown area.”
Their first-ever event was a spring fling in 2022 where residents came to shop, grab bites to eat from food trucks, and hunt for Easter eggs all throughout downtown businesses. The Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison then quickly launched their next round of events called “3rd Thursdays on Main”, a summertime monthly event that featured extended shopping hours at downtown businesses as well as food trucks, vendors, live music and entertainment, bounce houses, and more.
The Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison also helped with ensuring the community had a holiday event to attend downtown too!
The committee is proud to continue its efforts with The Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison in 2023 and already hosted its 2nd Annual Spring Fling as well as its first Jeep Car Show on April 6th.
“We are really excited to take what we learned from the first year of events and incorporate those lessons into making all of this bigger and better this year,” shares Fisher excitedly.
3rd Thursdays on Main will return this year from May through September. These events will take place on the evening of the third Thursday of each month, and Main Street will be blocked off to ensure the safety of all attendees.
Guests can expect great shopping opportunities within downtown businesses that plan to stay open late and offer discounts too! Pedestrians strolling Main Street will be greeted by the sounds of live music and entertainment while their noses are delighted by the variety of smells from food trucks galore! Organizers have ensured that food truck offerings vary, with desserts, lemonades, main courses, and more all offered to ensure that there’s something for everyone!
Kids’ activities will be ample with inflatables, yard games, and more.
Car shows will return as well, and event organizers hope that this is something attendees look forward to month after month.
October will bring a Halloween block party to downtown Madison, and organizers say that this event is not one to be missed!
November will bring a Pink Friday shopping experience through downtown Madison retail shops, and the holiday season promises a family-friendly event that will warm the heart and become a holiday staple for families all throughout the community.
In order to grow the Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison, the committee is now taking applications for historic downtown ambassadors! These ambassadors will play a role in helping plan and orchestrate various downtown events and will be crucial in helping grow downtown Madison into all that it can and will one day be.
To learn more about the Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison ambassador program, click here.
Fisher says that she has personally always loved downtown Madison and is excited to be a part of its continued growth.
“I’ve always loved the quaintness of this area and being able to walk around and have so much right here. I love the hometown feel of a downtown area and want other people to enjoy our downtown the way it should be enjoyed.”
Fisher also shares the exciting news that downtown Madison will likely soon become an official Arts & Entertainment District, meaning that guests will be able to grab an alcoholic beverage and walk around downtown with a drink in hand while soaking up cultural events, shopping, and dining options.
Madison Visionary Partners is proud to partner as an umbrella non-profit organization with the Shoppes of Historic Downtown Madison and be a part of its continued growth and success.
Mark your calendars for this year’s “3rd Thursdays on Main” events!