Holiday Events

Festival of Markets

The Festival of Markets took place in December 2021 for four consecutive weekends on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and a one day event held on December 23rd. Each weekend had a different theme and vendors including IndigenART, POPArt, Very Vintage Xmas, Afrik and Last Minute London. Vendors who were featured at our Festival of Markets came from various ethnicities including individuals from African, Asian and Indigienous descent as well as members from the LGBTQ+ community.

Night Circus: A District New Year’s Spectacular

The Cool Spring Downtown District partnered with the city to launch the inaugural Night Circus: A District New Year’s Eve Spectacular. The family-friendly event was the first NYE celebration to occur in the city in nearly a decade. The event brought the magic of a traveling circus to the heart of Fayetteville. As the last seconds to midnight counted down, a commissioned 18ft. multi-colored star rose above the crowd, illuminated at midnight from within and without via a vibrant fireworks display.

The Junction Window Wonderland Exhibition

Toronto’s magical Window Wonderland, a free immersive urban art walk, returned to the Junction for its second consecutive year. From November 2021 to January 2022, Window Wonderland transformed the Junction into an interactive, outdoor gallery featuring 20 unique augmented reality (AR) installations by 40 talented local and international artists.

Shadows at Sixth

“Shadows at Sixth: An Elevated Halloween Drive Thru” is unlike any event seen in Little Rock before. Held in a multi-level parking deck in downtown Little Rock, this drive-thru, family-friendly event was created to bring joy and fun safely to Central Arkansans in a time of uncertainty and isolation.

World of Winter

The World of Winter Festival is a two-month long festival that takes advantage of Michigan’s cold climate to provide interesting ways for people to experience and enjoy the season. This Festival aspires to make Grand Rapids a more active winter city, making Grand Rapids an active year-round city by hosting all activities outdoors in public spaces. All programming and activities are FREE, socially distanced for these pandemic times and geared for both families and adults.

Halloweek

Downtown Vision designed Halloweek as our first foray into holding safe events and promotions during the pandemic. This multi-pronged holiday celebration allowed us to promote and support Downtown Jacksonville’s small businesses and to create socially distanced, family friendly events for Halloween week 2020. Three key elements composed Halloweek: Decorating Downtown, Driving Traffic to Small Businesses, and Creating a Socially Responsible, Family Friendly Event for the Community.

Holiday Movie Food and Drink Week

Downtown Norfolk Council produced the first ever Holiday Movie Food and Drink Week. For this special holiday celebration, Downtown Norfolk chefs got creative and had a lot of fun reimagining iconic food and drinks from everyone’s favorite holiday movies and specials. For one week from December 4-11, Downtown Norfolk restaurants put their own unique spin on recognizable food, drinks, and memorable scenes from holiday classics for a creative and delicious helping of festive nostalgia.

Advancing Places: Holiday and Winter Place Activations

It may be summer but it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday events, lighting and winter activations. Join this webinar to hear how Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. is embracing all seasons to make it a four seasons city. During the pandemic they curated a two-month long activation, “World of Winter.” This 2021 Pinnacle Award-winning project attracted over 400,000 attendees during the cold winter months. Next, learn about holiday and lighting programs from the Georgetown BID. And finally, Midtown Alliance in Atlanta will present how they have added onto their Midtown Bright program each year as it continues to grow.

Placemaking & Events Roundtable

Has the pandemic paused your district’s placemaking and public events or have you been able to adjust to the new realities of physical-distancing and face-coverings? This roundtable conversation will focus on sharing new ideas and necessary innovations for pandemic-era placemaking and public events.

2019 Holiday Placemaking Initiative

During the 2018 holiday season, we saw a competing town center in our region offering holiday event content that was distressingly similar to ours – Shopping! Dining! Skating! Santa! We quickly realized we needed to take steps to truly differentiate and improve on our downtown holiday experience to make our downtown THE holiday destination.

Unbranded

Unbranded is an experimental pop-up shop showcasing the finest work of Dallas’ robust creative community. Sponsored by Downtown Dallas, Inc. throughout the past five holiday seasons, Unbranded brings together a unique, diverse group of vendors – typically local artists, artisans, and designers trying to expand their small, often online-only businesses – each year to provide a special, one-of-a-kind shopping experience for all Downtown residents, employees, and visitors.

Detroit Aglow

Each winter, the various departments within DDP work in tandem to light up Downtown Detroit – hence Detroit Aglow! The BIZ illuminates Downtown with seasonal lighting that enhances the physical characteristics of the Downtown parks and streets. The BIZ focuses on pedestrian, cyclist and vehicular gateways to make dark winter traveling brighter and safer. The DDP Parks team creates a season of programming centered around the tree lighting ceremony and the popular ice-skating rink.

San Antonio Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Celebrations

Historically San Antonio has been home to numerous Día de los Muertos celebrations that would be hosted in parallel. Seeing an opportunity for collaboration, community leaders gathered the independent hosts to put together a united Día de los Muertos event that would make San Antonio a top destination for a Día de los Muertos experience. Partnerships with Visit San Antonio as well as community corporate sponsorships support allowed for a heavy marketing strategy to areas outside of San Antonio.

Merry Madness

The first Thursday in December is a BIG night in Portland, Maine, as MERRY MADNESS takes over downtown! This event is Portland Downtown’s signature holiday shopping extravaganza, bringing together 1200 guests and more than 75 participating businesses for an evening of joy and merriment like no other.

The Downtown Huntsville Tinsel Trail

Tinsel Trail is a free display of live Christmas trees in Downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park. Over 300 trees decorate Big Spring Park for the holiday season. Downtown Huntsville, Inc. purchases the trees and then sells them to local companies, community groups, and individuals who then decorate the trees to their own custom theme. The event is free to the public and open 24/7. Special activities such as family fun runs, musical performances and caroling occur throughout the event.

DTLA // IRL

For the holiday season, Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID) presented DTLA//IRL (Downtown Los Angeles In Real Life) – an elaborate pop-up experience in the vacant retail spaces of a corner building on a prime retail corridor. Equal parts retail store, visitors’ center, event space, and art installation, the initiative showcased the vibrant culture, community, and commerce of DTLA

Downtown Topeka Events & Programming

Downtown Topeka, Inc. established a goal to make downtown the entertainment center of the community. To reach this objective Downtown Topeka, Inc. began creating events to attract a broad range of targeted demographics to rediscover and enjoy Topeka’s downtown. The goal was also to make a-majority-of the events Free to the public, this was accomplished through Business Improvement District funding and DTI sponsorship development.

Trick-or-Treat with East Midtown

The East Midtown Partnership launched a free Halloween celebration in 2015 inviting neighboring residents into the commercial core of the district to trick-or-treat and also familiarize themselves with downtown retail. An estimated 1,000 families attended the event in 2015, with just under 60 participating businesses. Because of their event’s initial success, The East Midtown Partnership expanded the event in 2016 and participation doubled to 2,000 families, and more than 80 businesses!

Experience Hastings Crossing

Experience Hastings Crossing (HxBIA) was an inaugural week-long event aimed at both facilitating and showcasing unique partnerships between HxBIA businesses and Downtown Eastside social enterprises and nonprofit organizations. HxBIA invited locals and visitors to learn about these partnerships and support local community organizations through purchasing special features at businesses.

Downtown in December

In 2016, Downtown Greensboro, Inc. (DGI) was tasked with taking over the annual Festival of Lights, a hallmark holiday event for the community. With the goal of “lighting up downtown” throughout the holidays, DGI expanded holiday programming and created “Downtown in December,” a month-long celebration featuring the Festival of Lights, a holiday parade, carolers, Santa visits, an ice rink and a Santa-Con pub crawl.

To Outsource or Not to Outsource: How to Monetize Events

Does your organization produce numerous events? Is it labor intensive and are you asking yourself should we be doing these events in house or outsource to a vendor? Attend this session and learn from practitioners with different perspectives on why they do events in house and/or outsource.

Culture is Key

From urban adventure games and the world’s largest steampunk festival to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, cities in the UK are actively developing cultural and events programmes that nurture local distinctiveness and attract people and trade. Learn how they engage with partners and develop a cultural strategy that is engaging and sustainable without spending millions.

The Business of Winter

How are winters in Tampa, Florida and Winnipeg, Canada the same? As you can imagine, Winnipeg is very cold in the winter and they have been very successful in activating the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and The Forks Marketplace during a time of year when everyone likes to hibernate. Downtown Tampa, decided to take promoting winter with a twist! This presentation shares creative holiday event ideas for warm and cold climates!