BELOIT—2022 will be the year of a full resurgence of Downtown Beloit Association events if you ask DBA Executive Director Shauna El-Amin as small businesses prepare for another bounce back year heading into the spring schedule.
The DBA spent 2020 and 2021 helping businesses rebound from the pandemic, with El-Amin and staff working in ways they could to still put out events and gatherings under COVID-19 guidelines.
“We’re hopeful the loosening of restrictions will bring more people downtown to our businesses that have been so adaptive over the last two years,” El-Amin said.
Kicking off the spring season, the DBA will host the Easter Eggstravaganza from 10 a.m.—noon on April 16 with lots of fun activities at the downtown DBA office, at 557 E. Grand Ave. The popular scavenger hunt at various downtown locations will be back and so too will photos with the Easter Bunny. Kids can play games and draw with sidewalk chalk to celebrate spring.
For more grown up fun, the Spring Wine Walk from 2—6 p.m. on April 30 will bring fun for those of age as businesses pop bottles and welcome shoppers. New this year will be a trolly to shuttle attendees around downtown that’s expanded the reach. While VIP passes are sold out, regular admission tickets are still available for $30. The ticket comes with a commemorative glass and 10, two-ounce tasting tickets.
“We love our wine walks,” El-Amin said. “They’re so fun. They bring in a lot of people who aren’t from Beloit or who haven’t been here in a long time. It’s a great time.”
But most exciting of all is the full return to normal at the Beloit Farmers’ Market. The market will return with over 100 vendors, up from 71 in 2021 and 47 in pandemic-stricken 2020.
El-Amin said the DBA hopes to get back to seeing around 7,000 to 10,000 visitors each Saturday, making it Wisconsin’s second-largest farmers’ market.
“We’re really excited about getting back to normal and to 2019 numbers for attendance and also vendors,” El-Amin said. “We’re thankful that the city and community has been supportive of our vendors and worked with us for doing what we could during the pandemic.”
Live music will return and the Gantry parking lot will be open to the public and vendors. Some surprises are still to-be-announced, El-Amin said.
There will be no requirements for the public in terms of masking or COVID-19 guidelines.
The market kicks off on May 7 and runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the end of October.
Another sign of spring in Downtown Beloit is Fridays in the Park. This event is scheduled to run from May 27 to Sept. 16 at First National Bank Plaza at the corner of East Grand Avenue and State Street. Each Friday from 11:30 a.m.—1:30 p.m., people can enjoy music provided by local entertainers as well as lunch provided for an affordable price by local businesses. It’s a great way to enjoy a lunch hour and the sunny spring weather.
On top of the good news, business vacancy downtown is at less than 1%, El-Amin said.
“It’s a great time to be in downtown Beloit,” she said.