- Nancy Bowman Contributing Writer
On any given weekend during the holiday season, at least one of Miami County’s communities offers special activities for locals and visitors to the area.
This year, five communities will offer special shopping and dining activities in their downtowns at the same time Nov. 17-19 as part of the inaugural Holiday Welcome Weekend.
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“I thought, ‘Why not work together to promote a bigger brand?’ ” said Diana Thompson, executive director of the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau. She shared the idea with staff in her office, and the concept was off and running.
She and staff met with the bureau’s advertising agency followed by each community to pitch the idea of the combined weekend of shopping and related experiences, and to find an agreeable weekend.
The result is three days in five communities: Covington, Tipp City, Troy, West Milton and Piqua.
Hours are Nov. 17-18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Nov. 19 from noon to 5 p.m.
The weekend is being promoted in the AAA magazine, Dayton Magazine and through a social media blitz in an area stretching from Chicago to Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and Columbus. Some area hotels are offering special rates on accommodations for visitors.
“I find that downtown communities offer a variety of options. Additionally, all of our downtowns are walkable, which is a huge benefit for shoppers,” said Thompson. “And, they all have wonderful restaurants and coffee shops for the well-deserved break.”
Thompson said she doesn’t think another shopping event will hurt other established activities such as the annual Winter’s Gathering held the second weekend of November in downtown Tipp City.
“I do not feel that there are too many shopping events. It is critical to help support small businesses, especially those who support a lively and vibrant downtown. It helps the economy,” Thompson said.
Heather Dorsten, Downtown Tipp City director, said the weekends will be viewed as separate holiday events.
“The Holiday Welcome Weekend will be featuring a downtown Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt with a prize gift basket drawing for anyone who completes the card and finds all the hidden elves,” she said.
The downtown will be decorated in a candy cane theme and businesses and restaurants will have extended hours each day.
More information is available online at www.HomeGrownGreat.com (scroll down the webpage and click on “A Holiday Welcome Weekend”).