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‘Tremendous community spirit’: Hampstead Day of Gratitude to thank business owners for service during pandemic

Hampstead residents are set to manifest appreciation to local businesses for their dedication in serving the community through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hampstead Revitalization Committee is hosting its first Day of Gratitude on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day’s events will begin at the band stand in front of the Residences at Hampstead at 1211 N. Main Street, according to a Hampstead Revitalization Committee news release.

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Visitors will be able to write thank-you messages to merchants and walk Main Street to deliver their notes and personally thank local business owners. Guests can also enter a raffle to win a basket of gifts and enjoy a free concert featuring Hampstead-based band Bootleg, at noon.

Participating businesses will have balloons displayed in front of their establishments, but letters can be distributed to any of the town’s businesses regardless.

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“This is the brainchild of Judy Reed, my co-chair,” Keith Johnson, of the Hampstead Revitalization Committee, said. "She just thought of when, during these times, we need to be showing gratitude and thankfulness for those who have been so instrumental in helping us. That’s the motive behind it all.

“I think it gives people a sense of normalcy and I think they look for that during this time.”

The event is free and open to the public and coronavirus restrictions will be in place as well.

Part of the event includes an essay contest for Hampstead residents in grades 4-12 that requires those who choose to participate to write what they are most grateful for about Hampstead, and why. A first-place winner will be chosen from each school level — elementary, middle, and high school — by a panel of judges and each will receive a $50 gift certificate.

The contest winners will be announced during an intermission in the concert and recognition will be given to those who have helped Hampstead meet past and present challenges, according to the release.

“There are so many things to be grateful for, especially in Hampstead,” Johnson said. "Gratitude, to me, means to show your appreciation to those who have extended themselves, those who have been the heroes during this time because they have persevered.

“The folks in Hampstead have shown tremendous community spirit and tremendous perseverance in order to keep their businesses alive, and to help as many people as possible.”

Johnson anticipates an increase in popularity in Hampstead’s local businesses even after the pandemic has subsided. In many ways, the pandemic provided business owners with the chance to get creative and discover ways to expand their establishments to better serve their clientele.

The Hampstead Revitalization Committee was formed in 2019 and seeks to promote Hampstead’s businesses, organizations, and community events to make the town an exciting and vibrant place to live, according to the release. The committee hopes to take the town into the future by using the construction on Main Street as a springboard for new programs and events that benefit the town.

“We wanted to see what we could do to make a great town even better by promoting Hampstead and promoting businesses in Hampstead,” Johnson said. "We want to let people know they can shop local and we have pretty much whatever you need in Hampstead.

“The town is already a great place to live, and we want to make it even better.”

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