MARIETTA - The doors of stores in Marietta's downtown and Harmar Village were thrown open, people filled the sidewalks and the sound of music filled the air during ReStore Marietta's Garden Party Friday evening.
While store owners said the event was good for business, patrons said they enjoyed getting out in the beautiful weather and strolling the streets.
"I just like it because it's the kick-off for summertime and all the great events that happen in downtown Marietta," said Cheryl Lang, owner of A Unique Flower and Gift Shop on Front Street. "It's nice for people to get out and visit each shop and see what they have to offer."
Photo by Ashley Rittenhouse
Sylvi Caporale, left, owner of American Flags, Poles and More, encourages people to get snacks in her store on Front Street in Marietta during ReStore Marietta’s Garden Party Friday evening.
Many storefronts were decorated during the event with garden themes. Inside those stores there were containers in which patrons could place a donation, thereby casting their vote for their favorite storefront. Proceeds will benefit ReStore Marietta's hanging flower basket project.
Also as part of the event, a Mad Hatter Hat Competition was held and people were encouraged to design and wear garden-themed hats and post pictures of their hats on ReStore's Facebook page by Friday evening.
Emily Sherington, of Australia, donned a hat Friday evening with flowers, butterflies and birds on it.
Upcoming Downtown Events
Cash Mob, 5:15 p.m. Monday; meet at the corner of Second and Putnam streets; participants must commit to spending at least $10 at a local business to be announced on the day of the event.
Brick Street BBQ, June 8 and 9.
Red, White and Blues Festival, July 6.
Merchants and Artists Walk, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, Nov. 9.
She said she's in the area visiting friends, and it's not her first time visiting.
"I like to see it busy because I've been here before and it was really quiet," Sherington said.
Many stores, including American Flags, Poles and More, offered discounts on items during the event. There, folks were also able to enjoy licorice and other treats served in bird baths.
"It's fun," said owner Sylvi Caporale. "Everybody is relaxed and in a good mood. The weather is great, just perfect."
More than just retailers participated in the Garden Party. A number of local organizations participated, too, offering things like plants, seeds and mulch.
Master gardeners with the Ohio State University Extension office set up a table on the sidewalk, as well as members of the Muskingum Garden Club.
"We're trying to get new members - we've only got nine," said club president JoAnn Naeser. "And we thought it would be nice to come show people what we do."
Those who stopped at the extension office's table picked up fact sheets about container vegetable gardening and growing rhododendrons and azaleas in Ohio.
"This is fantastic for people to get out and see people from the community and to let them know what we do as master gardeners," said master gardener Mona Barrett. "This is a family event. I see people with children and it's wonderful."
Williamstown resident Krista Berman attended the Garden Party with her mother and children. They said they had never been before.
"I love going around and looking at the shops," Berman said. "In everyday life, even though you live here, you get busy and it gives you a chance to see everything we have around us."
ReStore has several events planned for the upcoming months aimed at drawing people downtown.
Its next event, a Cash Mob, is at 5:15 p.m. Monday. Those who wish to participate should meet at the corner of Second and Putnam streets in Marietta.
"They commit to spending at least $10 at a chosen business," said Mallory Greenham, executive director of ReStore Marietta. "It's a shop local campaign we do."
Greenham noted that the business to be "mobbed" will not be announced publicly until the day of the event.
The Brick Street BBQ will be held June 8 and 9, the Red, White and Blues Festival will be held July 6 and the first Merchants and Artists Walk of the summer is scheduled for June 8.