Shoppers will have a chance to visit downtown merchants in the evening during the Tahlequah Main Street Association’s first Third Thursday Art Walk and After Party on Thursday, March 20.
Participating downtown businesses will keep their doors open to offer specials until 8 p.m., and artists will display their work at different locations. Art exhibitors, including the Cherokee Art Center’s Spider Gallery, will stay open late.
“Our downtown merchants understand they are open during normal business hours, which can make it difficult for some people to shop at their stores,” said Drew Haley, TMSA director. “However, they can’t justify staying open into the night because there isn’t enough traffic. The Third Thursdays are an opportunity for people to shop downtown after work.”
Haley said the TMSA welcomes the participation of artists in different mediums.
“They can be painters, photographers, whatever,” he said. “We are also looking for musicians and bands to perform.”
The after-party will involve North End venues, including The Branch, which will welcome people after their shopping treks.
“There will be something going on after 8 p.m.,” Haley said.
With the event still two weeks away, Haley said the plans for the first Third Thursday are still flexible.
“This is still experimental, to some degree,” he said. “If we get enough bands and musicians wanting to play, we may set up a stage in Norris Park. Third Thursdays have a chance to become something very special and unique to Tahlequah.”
Haley said other TMSA events have generated tens of thousands of dollars for downtown businesses and positive feedback.
“Ladies Night Out, Wines of Winter – after those events, people would tell us we need to do something like that every month,” he said. “Some suggested we do it every week. This is our response to those comments.”
The special shopping events also attract other businesses to the downtown district, Haley said.
“We have a great downtown with a good selection of shops, good business owners and good restaurants,” he said. “We invite everyone to attend our Third Thursdays to shop, eat and socialize.”
Additional Third Thursday dates in 2014 are April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, Aug. 21, Sept. 18 and Oct. 16.
For information or to participate as an artist or musician call the TMSA at (918) 431-1655 or visit www.downtowntahlequah.com.