Love is in the Air and on the Street

Couple on Main StreetFebruary is the perfect month to fall in love with Main Street. Each year, Main Street programs throughout the nation plan special Valentine's Day promotions to attract visitors. Promotions include sweet treats, wine tastings, sales, and super cheesy Valentine's events. Here are some ways a few communities are showing that their Main Streets are the bee's knees.

Downtown Martinez, California, will steal the hearts of I (heart) Downtown Martinez participants on Saturday, February 13th. This afternoon event invites people to celebrate Valentine's Day by strolling along the romantic streets of Martinez while tasting wine at local restaurants. Tickets include a tasting glass, a wine glass charm, a map of wine tasting stops at participating businesses, and an I (heart) downtown Martinez button. Tickets are $15 dollars in advance and $20 at the event.

Downtown Rochester, New Hampshire, celebrates Valentine's Day with an event that puts romance back into their community. Shoppers can enter a grand prize drawing with each purchase they make from February 1-12. Prizes include dinner and dancing at the Governor's Inn, a chocolate basket from Care Pharmacy, or a Sweetheart arrangement from Studley's Flower Gardens. Visitors can also sign up to fill out a heart message that will be displayed throughout the downtown. The first 300 heart-decorators receive a wooden rose. The hearts are then judged and winners will be named. Rochester residents are encouraged to come downtown and take A Stroll Down Lovers Lane to see the hearts on display. In addition, visitors can enjoy special two-for meal packages and a sweet 14 percent off at retail stores.  

Chocolate Daze - PolaroidVisitors' sweet Valentine's Day cravings will be satisfied in Wooster, Ohio, during its Chocolate Daze 2010 event on Friday, February 12th and Saturday, February 13th. With more than 20 participating businesses, shoppers will be able to take advantage of many special deals at local shops and restaurants, most of which involve some form of chocolate. Visitors can enjoy a special four-course chef's menu along with a featured dessert at the South Market Bistro; get free samples of chocolate nutritional products at Wooster's bike shop, Roll On; relax at Spa Collections with a spa treatment and a warm cup of hot chocolate; or buy a pair of earrings at The Bead Café for only $2.

New London CrowdNew London Main Street (Connecticut) is going old school for Valentine's Day. On Sunday, February 14th,they will hold a "wedding reception" that will resemble the movie "The Wedding Singer" and the comical play "Tony & Tina's Wedding." The reception, to be held in the downtown's Crocker House Ballroom, will have all of the regular wedding festivities—a professional DJ and dancing, cutting of the cake, and a bouquet and garter toss. There will also be a "never-to-be-worn-again bridesmaid dress" competition. Attendees can get their hair 80s-fied by a local salon, Cadmarie Salon. Visitors are urged to arrive early as the first 100 guests receive a free drink coupon.  An auction for large and small prizes will be held at the reception, and if visitors bring a receipt from a downtown restaurant dated February 12th or 13th, they can enter the auction for free. This Main Street program fund raiser asks that guests buy tickets for the event at $30 per person or $50 per couple. Food donations from more than a dozen local restaurants, donated time by an area DJ, and dozens of area sponsors help make the event possible.

Love on the Plaza PolaroidsThe Plaza District in Oklahoma City will temporarily rebrand its monthly "Live on the Plaza" art walk as "Love on the Plaza" on Friday, February 12th, from 7 to 11 p.m. This special celebration will put a romantic twist on the district's monthly event with activities that include getting smooched at the Plaza Kissing Booth at Collected Threads; enjoyring live music at Bad Granny's, Shop Good, and the Lyric Theater; getting a love tattoo for $40 at No Regrets Tattoos; and ending the night at Paula & Co Realtors for a "Lovers' Ball."  Cupid will hit shoppers with his arrow to help them find fun and great deals in this urban district.

Fremont Apple PolaroidMain Street of Fremont (Nebraska) celebrates Valentine's Day with a sweet treat that is usually served on Halloween: a caramel apple. This atypical wintertime snack has become a much-anticipated fund raiser for the Main Street program. This idea, initiated by a board member, is now in its third year and the behind-the-scenes caramel apple production has already doubled. A group of dedicated volunteers bring their own crock pots to a local business and together make more than 1,000 caramel apples that are sold for $8 a piece. Each apple is wrapped and decorated with a ribbon, a plastic ring, and a tag that says, "Specially made for you by Main Street Volunteers." After enjoying their apples, buyers can take the plastic ring to the downtown jewelry store to see if they've won a $300 diamond ring or a dinner for two at a local restaurant. Apples must be bought in advance and there are never any leftovers.

Dundalk, Maryland, invites investors and business owners to fall in love with this big-city district that has a small-town feel. On the evening of February 11, the Dundalk Renaissance Corp. hosted a professional networking event – Fall in Love with Dundalk – featuring an entrepreneur meet-and-greet, business resources fair, and tours of newly renovated commercial retail spaces. While not something you'd want to bring a date to, this event could help some potential business owners make some very meaningful relationships.


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