Third Thursdays is coming to Oneonta. Oneonta Downtown District (ODD), a newly formed organization of businesses in downtown Oneonta, has launched this exciting series of events that will offer a unique shopping experience, including Sip + Stroll, on Sept. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 21, and Dec. 19. Participating merchants will remain open until 8 p.m.on these days and offer fun for all ages.
The mission of ODD is to foster continued economic growth and development of the historic downtown through comprehensive and coordinated work with community partners. They strive to enhance the vitality and unique character of the community through the beautification, promotion, and development of beautiful, historic downtown in conjunction with their partners.Current partners include HomeTown Bank, Oneonta Business Association, Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, City of Oneonta, The Blount Countian, and the Beautification Board of Oneonta.
Those who wish to Sip + Stroll may purchase a $5 cup at any of the participating businesses and then visit each of the other locations for a complimentary beverage. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be served depending on the business.
Under the current ordinance, alcohol can only be carried outside if it came from a business that is licensed to sell alcohol. Other businesses serving (not selling) alcohol simply have to keep it within their store. Those being served alcohol must present a valid I.D. ODD advises anyone strolling with alcohol from a licensed vendor to be aware of the designated Entertainment District. It is the responsibility of the individual to make sure they are not strolling with alcohol past the posted “Leaving the Entertainment District” signs.
Proceeds from cup sales will benefit both ODD and a selected non-profit for each month. The non-profit organization for September is Friends of the Locust Fork River. An exhibit displaying the winning entries of their recent art and photo contest will open at The Makers Downtown on Sept. 19, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Other non-profit groups for the remaining months of the year will be determined at a later date.
The most recent list of participating businesses for the Sip + Stroll includes Brushfire Pottery, Chop, Cosa Bella Boutique, Grapes & Hops, Hicks Floral Designs, The Makers Downtown, Neely School of Music and Arts, The Nines, The Pink Porch Market, and Provence Gifts. Students from Neely School of Music and Arts perform during the events.
ODD hopes that Third Thursdays will be the first of many fun events for the upcoming fall and holiday season. They want to showcase the unique shopping, dining, and services offered in downtown Oneonta. According to the organization, “We’ve seen an amazing revitalization in recent years and are excited for what the future holds for our historic downtown and the heart of our city as we see new and unique businesses choosing to call downtown their home.
“Customers have traveled from out-of-county or even out-of-state to shop with us, but we’ve also experienced the pleasant surprise of locals who’ve said that we saved them a trip to Birmingham or elsewhere. We’re working to ensure that downtown Oneonta will continue to be both a revitalized hometown shopping district for our locals, as well as a destination for out-of-town shoppers. We’re excited to see how it grows.”
The City of Oneonta plans to re-evaluate the Entertainment District ordinance in an effort to offer more flexibility for current and future downtown business. While it is not clear at this point what those changes will be, ODD is thrilled that the city supports the mission of making progress toward an even more revitalized and unique downtown experience for the community as a whole.
Although the ODD website is still under construction, it is up and running. Business listings are being added as volunteer time permits. People are encouraged to visit www.oneontadowntowndistrict.com or follow Oneonta Downtown District on Facebook for more information and to stay updated on events. Anyone who owns a downtown business that offers dining, shopping, and/or services can be added to the website. Please contact ODD with the details of your listing. You may also contact Cinamon Airhart at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit The Makers Downtown at 103 Third Street North, or call 205- 274-9194.