Rochester Main Street, a volunteer-led nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce the return of Moonlight Madness, a memorable annual event that occurred in downtown Rochester for many years.
According to organizers, Moonlight Madness was always a fun event that aimed to attract shoppers and diners to the downtown area for a wide variety of specials, discounts, giveaways, and other promotions.
Main Street president Jeff Bisson says that the purpose of the event is to promote business-to-business collaboration and highlight “all the good downtown has to offer”.
“There’s been a lot of progress downtown in the past 5-10 years,” said Bisson. “As more people relocate to downtown, and as more new businesses fill empty storefronts, we want to remind shoppers that we have a great variety of eclectic and one-of-a-kind establishments you can’t find anywhere else.”
According to Bisson, 15 years ago, approximately 80% of the downtown storefronts in the Main Street district were empty. Bisson estimates that the number has flipped, and now only about 20% of the storefronts are still available. Bisson points to increased housing development, efforts made to bolster arts and cultural offerings, changes to density requirements, and other improvements that have contributed to the sea change.
“We’re thrilled to see all the progress made over the past several years,” said Bisson. “We hope events like Moonlight Madness will attract new businesses to downtown. Activities like this could be the reason an entrepreneur moves to downtown as opposed to a shopping center or mall setting.”
Moonlight Madness aims to bring neighboring businesses together through cooperative marketing. The event flyer will list the participating businesses and restaurants. Promotional opportunities will be included on the website. Bisson says the organization will be adding promotions as they are received.
“The only way this will work is if we all work together,” said Bisson. “If all the businesses participate and promote the event online and in-store, we should get a pretty good turnout.”
Bisson adds that there will be a kickoff party in the Wyandotte Walkway, next to Fallen Leaf Bistro, 45 North Main Street. The party will include complimentary treats and live music. Bisson says a live band will be set up on the new deck stage, recently commissioned by Rochester Main Street.
“We’re excited to show off the new deck stage in the Wyandotte Walkway,” Bisson added. “The stage was constructed on top of an old garden that hadn’t been consistently maintained. The area had been an eyesore for many years, so we added Edison string lighting and a deck to better activate the space. Going forward, the deck can be used for takeout dining, live music, and other outdoor activities.”
Immediately following the Kickoff Party, attendees are encouraged to visit participating nearby businesses. Locations are not limited to retail and dining, Bisson says the service industry is welcome to participate as well.
“All businesses are welcomed to participate so long as they are located downtown and will be offering some kind of promotion on the night of the event,” Bisson concluded. “It’s a good night for people to walk around and check out all the unique products, services, and specials.”
There’s still time for businesses to sign up to be included in the event. There is no cost to enter. However, business owners must agree to be open for the duration of the event, offer a special or discount, and promote Moonlight Madness in their establishments and on social media, etc.
Moonlight Madness is scheduled for Wednesday, August 23rd from 6-10 pm. Visit www.rochestermainstreet.org/moonlight for details and up-to-date information.