Support local during today's Downtown Stroll, Sip and Shop

NEW ERA ARCHIVE PHOTO

During previous Stroll, Sip and Shop events in Historic Downtown Hopkinsville, caricature artists and other vendors have been present. The first Stroll, Sip and Shop of 2019 will kick off at 4 p.m. today at Milkweed Health and Harmony Emporium.

Explore the small businesses of Hopkinsville, sample refreshments and enjoy live-entertainment from 4 to 7 p.m. today during Downtown Stroll, Sip and Shop along the streets of the renaissance district.

Today's Stroll, Sip and Shop is a celebration of Women's History Month, which is recognized during March. Hopkinsville Downtown Renaissance partnered with Hopkinsville Human Relations Commission to bring this event to life.

Jennifer P. Brown will begin the festivities with a women's history talk at 3 p.m. today at Milkweed Health and Harmony Emporium. Brown's discussion is titled "Five Hopkinsville Women Who Deserve Historical Markers."

"I'm really excited to have Jennifer here," said Julie-Anna Carlisle, Milkweed owner. "I have no idea which five women she is going to talk about, so I am really intrigued by her talk. Jennifer is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to history in Hopkinsville."

Throughout the year, Milkweed hosts many guest speakers, classes and community events.

"Milkweed's purpose is not just to be a retail place but to help elevate and educate the community, and particularly empower women," Carlisle said.

At 4 p.m., the Stroll, Sip and Shop will kickoff at Milkweed. Each guest will receive a reusable tote bag stuffed with a program and coupons, said Holly Boggess, Hopkinsville Downtown Renaissance director.

"We started (Stroll, Sip and Shop) last year, and the first one was so successful we decided to continue them on a quarterly basis," Boggess said. "We wanted to provide an opportunity for an event to take place downtown in which the merchants would stay open beyond their normal operating hours, allowing customers that extra couple of hours to go and shop."

Local businesses staying open extended hours is beneficial to their sales because about 70 percent of retail shopping takes place after 5 p.m., Boggess said.

"This is an opportunity for some of our downtown businesses to capture some of those retail sales," she said. "It's good for the overall economy and downtown area. It's good for residents who are looking for opportunities to look at new events and do new things."

During the event, vehicular traffic will be blocked off on Ninth Street between Virginia and Liberty streets, so participants can wander in the streets and shop safely. Parking is available in municipal center lots on Virginia Street.

Merchants may offer special discounts during the event. Participating businesses include many establishments along Sixth and Ninth streets, such as The Miller's Son and the Hopkinsville Art Gallery and Guild. Other businesses guests may visit are The Raspberry Patch Antiques LLC and The Shop Next Door.

Stroll, Sip and Shop is a chance for downtown businesses to work together to bring business downtown, Carlisle said.

"All of the small businesses ... we want each other to thrive. We look for ways to connect each other. We are a team. The more we support each other, the stronger we are going to be," she said.

Guests will register for giveaways and door prizes that will be given away during the festivities. Businesses, such as Planter's Bank, sponsor gift cards prizes to be given away.

While shopping, guests can enjoy cocktails and mocktails from Hopkinsville Brewing Co., Casey Jones Distillery and MB Roland Distillery. DJ's Famous Lemonade also will be onsite serving refreshments.

A food truck will be onsite for any guests wanting to purchase a meal.

"There will be picnic tables in case people want to sit down, enjoy the weather and listen to some music while having a drink," Boggess said.

Musicians Melanie Davis and Fate McAfee will perform during the event. At 6 p.m., Clarksville-Northeast High School step team also will perform. The Hopkinsville Downtown Renaissance team is looking to bring new forms of entertainment to Stroll, Sip and Shop events in the future.

Stroll, Sip and Shop events will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays June 1, Oct. 26 and Nov. 30 at various downtown locations.

The event will conclude with a Kentucky Chautauqua performance at 6:30 p.m. at Hopkinsville Brewing Co. featuring Rosie the Riveter.

Carlisle hopes people who regularly frequent downtown will come to the event even if they attended last year's Stroll, Sip and Shop because there are always new businesses opening downtown.

For those who have never visited businesses downtown, Carlisle said this is an opportunity to try new things in a fun environment.

"This is a great event for anyone to come out and meet all of the store owners," she said. "This is a way to get a good tasting of what our downtown is all about."

Stroll, Sip and Shop events help downtown businesses connect and engage with new customers, Boggess said.

"Of every $100 spent at a locally-owned small business, $68 remains in the economy and are recycled for ongoing efforts," she said. "They utilize the money you spend with them to support other small businesses and keep that money circulating in our community."

Reach Mari-Alice Jasper at 270-887-3262 or mjasper@kentuckynewera.com.

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