ALTON – During the latest “What’s Up Downtown” meeting on Nov. 11, Alton Main Street Executive Director Sara McGibany said Alton is an exciting place to be this holiday season.
Among the upcoming events, the seventh annual Taste of Downtown will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20, at Argosy Casino’s Music Hall.
Twenty area restaurants will be preparing a variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts for $15; tickets are available at the Alton Regional Convention and Visitor’s Bureau center (618-465-6676) and Bossanova Martini Lounge, 112 W. Third St.
“That is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year, so please tell your friends,” McGibany said.
The next evening, on Nov. 21, the annual community tree lighting will take place beginning at 6 p.m. at Lincoln-Douglas Square. Santa will be visiting and refreshments will be provided until 6:45, when Alton Mayor Brant Walker will speak before turning on the lights to the tree, provided by the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club.
“After that, the Riverbender.com Community Center is having a holiday open house until 10 p.m., so the festivities will move there,” McGibany said.
On Saturday, Nov. 29, Alton Main Street, the Sierra Club, and the YWCA will present the 12th annual Green Gift Bazaar from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the YWCA, 304 East Third St.
“These are environmentally friendly gift ideas, so they are handmade, certified fair trade, or used by recyclable materials,” McGibany said. “It is very neat to see the creative way people craft old stuff into new gift ideas.”
The bazaar takes place on Small Business Saturday, an event McGibany says is vital in supporting local business in Alton.
McGibany also spoke about the changes at Alton Stained Glass Works and Tiffany Inn, 410 E. Broadway.
While previously open only one day a week, new hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. every Wednesday through Saturday, and hours soon will be expanded until 9 p.m.
Store renovations and expansions have created a new café area in the front of the shop where tea, biscotti, cookies and more are sold. Renovations will continue into the new year, when plans include the addition of a wine and beer shop, and proprietor Lynne Ulett will begin pairing art glass classes with wine and cheese parties.
The Alton CVB will kick off its Birds of Winter seasonal events with the free Alton-Audubon Eagle Festival from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Jan. 3 and the Eagle meet-and-greet with live eagles at the center on Jan. 3, 10, 17, 25 and 31.
Crown Vision Center’s Riverbend Outreach Coordinator Kitty Edelen spoke on the changes taking place at the longtime business at 406 E. Broadway.
“We have expanded our kids’ program from ending at sixth grade to all the way through high school,” Edelen said. “Any child who cannot get glasses through any other means can get glasses through Crown.”
Renovation and remodeling plans for the interior of Crown Vision Center are slated to begin after the first of the year.
“We are not moving,” Edelen said. “We just signed a new lease.”
Other upcoming events include Aunt Sha’s Cottage Furniture’s open house on Saturday, Nov. 22. The new furniture store is located at 307 E. Broadway.
The next Brown Bag Networking lunch for businesspeople in the area will be held at 11:30 a.m. at Mineral Springs Mall. Alton Main Street will provide drinks and encourages people to bring their lunch and socialize with other businesses in the area.
The Miles Davis Memorial Project is selling holiday commemorative bricks and blocks as a fundraising effort for the new Miles Davis statue and surrounding plaza. For information, visit www.prideincorporated.org.
Alton Main Street is an organization committed to the renewal of the downtown district and creating an “attractive center of economic and social activity” through economic gardening, promotions, team building and more.
For more information, visit www.downtownalton.com.