By SEAN ROWLEY
TAHLEQUAH — email@example.com
Taking advantage of the unseasonably cool weather, many area shoppers visited an inaugural event to find shopping bargains and let their children enjoy some water slide fun at Norris Park.
The inaugural Drop & Shop, organized by the Tahlequah Main Street Association, encouraged Muskogee Avenue businesses to participate through sales and promotions and gave shoppers a safe place for children to play.
“The Drop & Shop came about because there were some groups interested in street parties,” said Drew Haley, director of TMSA. “We were looking for a way to do something similar to that where the local merchants could benefit. We tossed around ideas, but finally we thought it would be good to include something for kids to do.”
For a $10 admission, shoppers could leave their kids at Norris Park to play on four inflatable water slides. Buying admission to the slides and all further purchases of $10 entered shoppers into a drawing for a grand-prize basket, which included gifts or gift certificates from all 19 participating businesses.
The winner, Laura Medlin, was announced at 7 p.m. at Norris Park. She got her ticket from Paceline Cyclery.
“A lot of restaurants also offered discounts,” Haley said. “People were also able to grab a bite to eat while they were shopping.”
The event ran between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., but patrons did not need to wait until midday to look for bargains. The event was preceded by the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market, which opened at 8 a.m., along with a community bike rally and safety course.
Robin Stand, TMSA member, made a point of attending the Drop & Shop.
“I bought a few things - visited my favorite stores,” she said. “This was a beautiful day, and we need to continue to do things like this to support downtown Tahlequah.”
Many took advantage of special deals merchants offered.
“I got everything in my bag for under $30,” said Karla LeBlanc. “I may send some of them as Christmas gifts. One of the reasons I came down here was because I thought I might find some good deals on warm clothing items.”
Dina Lippert, owner of Cook’s Companion & More, said Drop & Shop provided a boost to her sales.
“Events like this encourage people to come downtown and see some of the shops that have opened recently,” she said. “I appreciate the support of the TMSA to the community and business owners. Every time the association holds an event, it brings people to our store.
Haley said the TMSA plans to make the Drop & Shop an annual event, or perhaps hold it even more often.
“The good weather helped us get a really good turnout,” Haley said. “Depending on the results for the businesses, we may organize as many of four of these events next summer - perhaps one in May, June, July and August.”