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Downtown Sykesville Connection using videos to highlight local businesses, stay positive amid coronavirus

Downtown Sykesville Connection has been posting videos to Facebook to help downtown Sykesville business owners share stories about themselves and their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Downtown Sykesville Connection has been posting videos to Facebook to help downtown Sykesville business owners share stories about themselves and their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. (Screengrab)

A Sykesville organization is using a video project to highlight local businesses, allowing owners to share a bit about their lives and what they’re doing to keep afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the spread in Maryland of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered residents to stay at home and nonessential businesses to close their doors, leaving many business owners in a difficult position. So the Downtown Sykesville Connection started a video project to help downtown Sykesville business owners share stories about themselves and their businesses.

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According to the Julie Della-Marie, Downtown Sykesville Connection executive director, they have collected about a dozen videos from local business owners so far.

“We just decided to enter the virtual world a little more seriously, but doing it still in a way that would have a Main Street meaning,” Della-Marie said. “Really, the Main Street meaning is transforming the people’s shopping visit into an experience and what’s best to do that than introducing people as they are.”

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The organization saw video as the best way to engage locals while still respecting guidelines for social distancing to limit the spread of the virus, Della-Marie said.

Some people included their children and pets into their videos to show more of their personal life along with their business side.

The videos are being posted on the organization’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/sykesville.

Dancing at home

In addition to supporting local businesses, Downtown Sykesville Connection is also working to add some positivity for community residents in a digital space.

“We’re working on a large virtual dance-off,” Della-Marie said. “That’s going to take place every week. It will be different categories, everyone has to dance to the same music, the same 59 seconds of the same song.”

The virtual dance-offs will have voting at the end of each week, and the grand finale will be a large virtual party where the winner of every week will battle for the grand prize, which has yet to be determined.

Participants will have to prerecord their dances and send it to Downtown Sykesville Connection through social media or email downtownsykesville.events@gmail.com.

According to Della-Marie, the dance-off will be launching within the next two weeks. She said details are still being worked out for how the virtual party will be held.

“We realize that they’re really missing that togetherness and that it’s extremely hard for people to live in isolation right now,” she said. “So, we were trying to find a way that would serve that in a doable way by everyone because everyone has a smartphone. So it’s not hard to play that music and record a video of yourself dancing with a smartphone.”

Downtown Sykesville Connection is also holding a “Draw Your Main Street” contest for Carroll County children up to 11 years old and a “What Does Main Street Mean to You?” essay contest for those ages 12 to 18.

For the drawing contest, kids have to draw a picture of what their Main Street looks like and for the essay contest, teens have to share what their Main Street means to them in 250 to 500 words.

The winner for each category will be invited to receive a prize at the intermission of the musical performance of the 2020 Art and Wine Festival, which is scheduled for Sept. 12.

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