The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 16, 2013

The Main event

Organization coordinates, promotes businesses and events that keep people coming downtown

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — There will be plenty to do in downtown Enid in 2013, as Main Street Enid is focusing on key events, including some changes and a surprise or two.

Kelly Tompkins, Main Street project director, said the popular Jazz Stroll event is moving to the week of Tri-State Music Festival, and hopefully some jazz bands involved in Tri-State will participate. The 15th annual Jazz Stroll will be May 3, part of the First Friday events downtown.

In addition to Tri-State jazz bands, area college and university bands will be asked to participate, Tompkins said. Some jazz choirs also will be asked to perform.

The venue for those performances will be the West Randolph breezeway, Callahan’s restaurant and the courthouse Gazebo, if there no construction is ongoing. Tompkins said a third outside area also may be used. Restaurants and merchants can obtain their own bands as they normally do, she said.

“There will probably be a big name entertainer perform, but the details are not final yet,” Tompkins said. “We will most likely have one.”

First Friday is back March 1, after being on an extended break. During that time, Gaslight Cabarets have continued to be held, as have Turpin Thursdays, a time when when local musicians gather to perform for the public.

First Friday has grown significantly in the last year, with four participating locations at the start of 2012 increasing to 20 by the end of the year. Tompkins credited volunteer Stella Jantzen’s promotion of First Friday as a volunteer.

Another big event downtown is the annual Tour de Trykes fundraiser by Enid AM AMBUCS. It includes events for casual bike riders as well as serious competitors who compete in the Twilight Criterium on a figure-eight track through downtown Enid. The event has been nominated previously for an Oklahoma Main Street award.

One of the most popular Main Street events is the annual Enid Lights Up The Plains holiday lighting festival that kicks off the Christmas shopping season. The fireworks display always is a crowd favorite.

Several new Main Street committees have been started this year, as the organization continues to evolve to meet the needs of downtown.

One is called Loft Living and is designed to educate people and provide sources on ways to make it easier to create more loft apartments downtown.

Another committee is tasked with creating a downtown Enid history  website. It will feature photos and stories of old Enid. Visitors to the site can share their memories of downtown and of people they knew.

A third committee is a public art committee that will try to bring more vibrancy to downtown by showcasing art. One of the projects to be worked on will be artistic designs on the eight downtown corner nodes. Some art exhibits around town will be permanent and some will be temporary.

Main Street Enid was created in 1994 with the goal of revitalizing downtown. One of the first things the organization did was work on streetscapes and facade improvements.

Since its inception, Main Street Enid has seen private reinvestment in downtown top $32 million.