MIAMI COUNTY — A weekend of shopping and holiday events throughout the county might lead to a new tradition in the area.
The brainchild of Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau Executive Director Diana Thompson, Holiday Hometown Weekend is scheduled for just prior to Thanksgiving from Nov. 17-19.
During the weekend, the shops and restaurants of Covington, Piqua, Tipp City, Troy and West Milton will welcome visitors to browse and dine while enjoying the best they have to offer for this year’s holiday season.
Shops will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19.
Thompson, who said she had been thinking of the weekend of events for a while, said she spoke with officials in the towns and villages to see if there would be interest. After confirming they were on board and the weekend prior to Thanksgiving worked for the majority of the participants, dates and details were set, Thompson said.
“It just kind of makes sense. Our goal is to drive business to every one of these communities,” Thompson said. “Come see us, don’t go to the big box stores, at least that weekend. Come get some real buys and some unique items — that’s what we’re known for. Instead, we invite you to explore our historic downtowns for that one-of-a-kind gift, toy, and unique treasure for anyone on your shopping list. Grab your best friend, sweetheart, mom or sister and head to a place that can handle all of your holiday shopping needs. Then treat yourself to something savory at any of our local restaurants.”
Thompson said they have been doing an aggressive marketing campaign through advertising, billboards and social media, making those outside the county aware of the weekend of events, which also will include carriage rides and visits with Santa, among other events. She said she believes visitors from as far away as Cleveland, Detroit and Indianapolis will make their way to the county for the weekend of holiday events.
“It’s the perfect weekend and it’s not yet Thanksgiving, so they have time to plan a weekend getaway,” said Thompson, who noted that area hotels are offering holiday packages and special discounts for the weekend. “I hope it brings a lot of new visitors to the area to experience the county. And I think they will come back again after they have been here and see what we have to offer.”
Local dining options in the five towns also will ensure that hungry visitors have the fuel they need to shop and enjoy the events, Thompson said.
Participating cities and villages and their plans for the weekend include:
• Troy will welcome shoppers to its downtown stores, including clothing and gift boutiques, fair trade items and olive oils. The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center will host its seventh annual Hayner Gift Gallery from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. The house will be filled with more than 20 fine artists and vendors, each selling their own unique products.
• Windows in downtown Tipp City will be decorated with festive peppermint themes and a scavenger hunt will take visitors from shops to restaurants to win a prize. Visitors will also have the chance to take a photo with Buddy the Elf. A toy store as well as boutiques and collectibles can be found in this historic downtown.
• The village of West Milton’s historic downtown also offers specialty shops that will be awaiting shoppers. Be sure to plan a stop at the Pearson House restaurant for a slice of their homemade pie.
• The village of Covington will be offering sleigh rides from 6-8 p.m. Friday, photos with Santa from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and house tours on Sunday. Tickets will be available at the downtown shops.
• Downtown Piqua will find businesses decorated and ready to provide shoppers with an array of shopping choices from its downtown businesses.
“Each individual town gets to maintain their identity. They can choose what they offer for that weekend. Everybody gets to be very personal,” said Thompson, explaining that the event is under the umbrella of the visitors bureau for advertising and promotional efforts.
Thompson said she hopes the November weekend will become an annual event.
“We’ll have to wait and see and not make a commitment for the future until we hear from the communities. If we hear there is a fairly decent bump in sales and hotel visits, we will definitely consider doing it again.”
Looking toward this year, however, Thompson said she hopes community members come out to support the local downtown businesses.
“Three days, five towns and over 100 shopping and dining destinations,” Thompson said. “Welcome to the holidays.”
For more information, visit HomeGrownGreat.com/HolidayWeekend.
Reach Melody Vallieu at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (937) 552-2131.