A community celebration for Downtown Washington Inc. winning the 2012 Great American Main Street Award is being planned.
The party, open to the public, will take place Friday, May 25, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Farmers’ Market.
Plans aren’t finalized but the Washington Lions Club will sell food, and soda and alcohol will be sold at a nominal cost.
“This is not a fundraiser, so we’re not looking to make money, just cover costs,” said Bridgette Epple, Downtown Washington Inc. executive director.
“It’s a celebration for the community,” Epple added. “We want to make sure everyone is aware that our community was chosen for this national award and it’s something we all should be proud of.”
The event will be family-friendly and there is no admission charge.
Live music is planned, Epple said.
“We’re still working out all of the details, but we want to get the date out there so people can make plans to attend,” she said. “It is the Friday of Memorial Day weekend so we know some people might be heading out of town, but we hope they can stop by the celebration first.”
At the event, the downtown organization will show the video it produced as part of its application for the award, as well as video from the awards ceremony itself which was held earlier this month at the National Main Streets Conference in Baltimore, Md.
The video, showcases the downtown area, events and festivals, and some of the projects the group worked on over the past year, including the renovation of the downtown post office. It also touches on each of the Main Street four points and how the organization is utilizing them locally.
The Great American Main Street Award is sponsored by National Trust for Historic Preservation, which announced five winners. A GAMSA jury, composed of representatives from the commercial district revitalization field, served as the judges.
Downtown Washington Inc. also was a semifinalist for the award in 2000 and 2001.
Only two other communities in Missouri have received the award — Clarksville in the late 1990s and Lees Summit in 2010.
Washington was well represented at the conference. Epple and Aimee Frey, staff members, attended along with current and past board members, Mayor Sandy Lucy and Darren Lamb, community and economic development director. Several Historic Washington Foundation board members, Downtown Washington Inc.’s sister organization, also were in attendance.
Rick Hopp, former downtown board member and Historic Washington Foundation president, said the award shines a light not only on Washington, but the entire state of Missouri. He also said the award is shared by all current and former board members, especially those early promoters of the downtown.