For nearly 30 years, Noblesville Main Street has been, sometimes unbeknownst to city residents, the force behind many of Noblesville’s largest and most successful hometown events, such as the farmers market, Street Dance and Duck Race, to name a few.
At its annual meeting Feb. 15, NMS Executive Director Lorna Steele gave an update on the organization, including two new grants that could help fund some of its signature events.
Steele said NMS is a finalist for a grant, ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, from LISC Indianapolis’ Love Thy Neighborhood Awards, and that NMS recently receive a $15,000 grant from the Crosser Family Foundation.
Across the organization’s four committees (design, organization, promotions and economic development), Steele said NMS has plans to enhance its existing events.
“Our biggest events were Street Dance, Fall Fest and the farmers market,” Steele said. “Our farmers market averaged over 4,000 visitors a week. We had 90 vendors and had a waitlist of vendors that was enormous, so this year, we’re kind of looking to expand our vendor list a lot so we can activate some new vendors and really integrate them into our market.”
Market organizers again will hold Kids Day, set for Aug. 10.
“The (2018) Kids Day was really focused on celebrating the kids in our community while also giving them a platform to play with their entrepreneurial skills,” Steele said. “The whole idea was that the kids would sign up for a booth, and they got to sell whatever they wanted.”
New this year is a change in the date of the annual Street Dance. In 2018, the event was July 14 and drew approximately 15,000 people and 54 vendors on three sides of the historic downtown square.
This year, the Street Dance will be bumped to June 1, butting up against the May 31 Darlington Bed Race, which also is getting bumped up by a week so it doesn’t conflict with Noblesville High School’s graduation weekend.
Another NMS event that has grown significantly is Fall Fest.
“This event really blew my expectations out of the water,” Steele said. “I told myself that if 2,000 people came, it would be great, but we had 5,000 people come.”
Fall Fest combines many of the organization’s partnership efforts and activities into one large event, including CanStruction, a large food drive that leads to local architects, engineers and volunteers building historic replicas of Noblesville buildings in downtown storefronts; the annual soup cook-off, which pits local restaurants against each other in a tasting competition; the pumpkin-carving sponsorships, which places carved pumpkins around the square, replacing the ice-sculpture sponsorships of past years; the annual scarecrow contest, where local businesses sponsor scarecrows on streetlamps on and around the square; and, of course, trick-or-treating.
Steele also outlined business growth from the past year. In 2018, new businesses to downtown Noblesville included: Texy Mexy; Anthony Leigh; The Mix Vintage and New Marketplace; Grindstone Public House; Moonshot Game Lounge; Bruno’s Shoebox; d8 Pizza; All Local; Horizon Bank; and Toward Zero.
Moreover, the City of Noblesville awarded 10 façade grants for a combined total of $101,000, resulting in nearly $198,000 in downtown façade investment in 2018.
“Noblesville Main Street is a nationally accredited 501(c)(3) through the Main Streets of America umbrella,” Steele said. “Main Streets of America is an organization that really exists to revitalize older historic and commercial districts, to build vibrant neighborhoods and thriving economies to make sure that historic downtown Noblesville can really stay the hub of activity and that people still want to stay and come here to eat, shop and play.
“It’s all founded on this basis of the power of small – how small business, small-scale development and small steps lead to really big things, and I think that’s a perfect example of what we have here in Noblesville.”
EVENTS IN 2019
At the Feb. 15 annual meeting, Noblesville Main Street Executive Director Lorna Steele announced three new events for the spring and fall.
The first is a Spring Break Stay-cation, set for March 25 to April 6, which lets people pick up a “passport” to visit a variety of businesses and organizations in downtown Noblesville.
“This was a really cool idea from our promotions committee and a lot of different merchants,” Steele said “We have a two-week-long spring break in Noblesville, and we were looking at how we could activate our downtown for people who don’t travel or stay here one of the weeks. Participants can pick up a passport and make all these different stops (at businesses) for different promotions and activities across the two weeks of spring break.”
The following week, NMS will host Sip & Shop, a new name for — and enhancement of — the annual Diva Night event. Sip & Shop is April 12.
“People will get a map, and they can tour different stores where there will be different things to sample, like kombucha, tea, coffee, wine and more,” Steele said.
For November’s First Friday event, NMS is adding a Craft Beer Crawl.
“This will take the Downtown Shop Around event and activate it a little bit more,” Steele said. “We used to have the Beards & Brews event, but we haven’t really had a brew event the past couple of years. The idea will be that we’ll have microbrews set up in the different stores, and people can go around with a tasting glass and sample those while seeing the insides of stores.”
- March 25-April 6-Spring Break Stay-cation
- April 12-Sip & Shop
- May 3-First Friday: Upstairs Downtown
- May 4-Farmers Market opens (every Saturday through Oct. 12)
- May 16-Meals from the Market
- May 31-Bed Race
- June 1-Street Dance
- June 7-First Friday: Music and All That Jazz
- June 20-Meals from the Market
- July 5-First Friday: Music and All That Jazz
- July 18-Meals from the Market
- Aug. 2-First Friday: Music and All That Jazz
- Aug. 10-Farmers Market Kids Day
- Sept. 6-First Friday: Chocolate Trail, Music and All That Jazz
- Sept. 14-Duck Race
- Sept. 19-Meals from the Market
- Oct. 4-First Friday: Fall Fest, Music and All That Jazz
- Oct. 12-Miller Day at the Market
- Nov. 1-First Friday: Craft Beer Crawl
- Nov. 30-Small Business Saturday
- Dec. 6-First Friday: Santa House, Lights Over Seminary
- Dec. 7-Holiday Market
- Dec. 8-Celebrate Main Street dinner