Late-night events to wake up downtown area
Summer nights in downtown Eau Claire will become a little more lively if two city-sponsored events gain popularity.
“For many years, Thursday night was the night to be downtown,” said Marsha Tanula, communications and promotions coordinator for the city of Eau Claire. “There was no other place to be on Thursday.”
During Girls Night Out, the first Thursday of each month, and Moonlight Stroll, the third Thursday of each month, downtown businesses will offer specials, entertainment and refreshments in hopes of reinstating the tradition of Thursday nights downtown. The events will be held from April to October.
|“I think (the events) will be a really popular thing for the downtown.”
Owner, benny Haha
“We saw quite a few people out while it was still light,” said Anna Wojtanowicz, owner of benny Haha, 204 S. Barstow St. “I think (the events) will be a really popular thing for the downtown, and I think it will be a really positive thing for the community.”
The store offered discounts and refreshments to customers Thursday, Wojtanowicz said.
The Girls Night Out event, modeled after a program in Hudson, offers specials on things such as highlights, manicures, dinner, drinks and shopping on the first Thursday of each month.
“They target women, but it’s not to say it’s just for women,” Tanula said. “It’s really for everyone.”
Specials are offered to both male and female customers, she said.
“They were concerned about it being for everybody,” said Destini Artworks co-owner Adrian Klenz. He said Girls Night Out is more retail-based, while the Moonlight Stroll focuses more on the arts.
During the Moonlight Stroll on Thursday, a barbershop quartet went around performing at downtown businesses, Tanula said.
Klenz, who participated in planning the event, said organizers encouraged businesses to stay open until at least 9 p.m. on special event nights. He said a book release party Thursday at Destini made it impossible to judge how much the event increased turnout, but he’s optimistic that it will increase the popularity of the downtown area.
“I think it will pick up once people realize it’s going on,” he said. “It’s just a matter of spreading the word.”
The events are intended to increase awareness of Eau Claire’s downtown area, Tanula said.
“We have some new stores that people don’t know about or maybe haven’t visited in awhile,” she said. “The downtown is such a community. Everyone knows each other. It has kind of a small-town type of feel.”
She said downtown businesses are also working in other ways to develop relationships with Eau Claire residents, such as giving out white pine seedlings for Arbor Day.
“It’s a work in progress,” she said.
The next events will be held May 5 and May 19.