Middlebury to cast off construction blues with downtown block party

There’s not a whole lot that’s fun about construction, especially when it tears up the heart of downtown Middlebury. Traffic will be detoured around the centre-ville starting today, Thursday, July 27, through Saturday, Aug. 5, which means, less traffic for all of our beloved shops on Main Street and Merchants Row.
Plus, there’s the inconvenience factor for drivers. Main Street (from the crosswalk at the Post Office to Bakery Lane) will be closed until Aug. 5, and Merchants Row will be closed until Aug. 12. So how do you get from the east side of Otter Creek to the west?
Go around.
Drivers will need to take the Cross Street Bridge or the Pulp Mill Bridge until temporary bridges are constructed to restore the normal flow of traffic.
But, let’s not loose our cool just yet.
Why not? Because the Better Middlebury Partnership is inviting you to come see what’s going on, support the businesses and party in the construction zone on Wednesday, Aug. 2, from 4-8 p.m. (Hard hats not required; but if you’re into costumes … go for it.)
“Since the road will be closed for construction, we decided it was a good time to throw a party on the street, invite the community and support our local merchants,” said BMP Marketing Director Karen Duguay.
Next Wednesday’s party will feel similar to other Midd Night Strolls the BMP has put on. The evening will feature Middlebury Money giveaways, live music, kids activities, food, face painting and wrap up with “Shrek” — showing in the new college park at 8:20 p.m.
What’s a little different about this party? The construction theme.
So, please excuse the mess, grab a bag of popcorn from the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, blow some bubbles with Sun Common and make your way over to the real excavator parked at the intersection of Merchants Row and Main Street — it’s a great photo-op for kids!
There will be no beep-beep of heavy machinery, just the “sweet, soaring harmonies” of southern Vermont band Luminous Crush, as they perform original dream pop tunes from 6-8 p.m. Some nice background music for shopping.
Duguay reports that the majority of downtown merchants will stay open until 8 p.m. Wednesday evening to welcome partygoers and offer sales, specials, tastings and pop-ups. If you spend at least $25 with a local merchant on Aug. 2, the BMP has organized a raffle for you. Bring your receipt to the BMP table on Main Street and be entered to win Middlebury Money prizes of $500, $250 and $50. (Middlebury Money is accepted at more than 100 local businesses.) Winners from the drawing will be announced before the movie starts; no need to be present to win.
“It’s always so wonderful to see the stores full of shoppers, the restaurants busy and friends and neighbors catching up on the streets of downtown Middlebury,” said Duguay.
“The idea of a shopping event like the BMP’s Midd Night Stroll held in tandem with a summer block party originated from feedback via the Neighbors Together community forums, held last spring,” reads a press release sent out by the BMP earlier this week. “Neighbors Together is a steering committee comprised of representatives from several organizations in town and its purpose is to bring a collaborative approach to promoting Middlebury during the ongoing bridge project.”
Middlebury College, Middlebury UndergrounD, Addison County Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Middlebury and downtown merchants helped organize Middlebury’s first-ever Block Party. Duguay said she hopes this event will draw of crowd of a few hundred people to Middlebury’s downtown.
See ya there!
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