The town of Mount Airy will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a festive block party in the town’s historic downtown district Saturday. Mt. Airy Commons will simultaneously hold a grand opening in honor of the 125th celebration.
“We have a rich and vibrant history of a close-knit community and this block party is a way for us to come together and celebrate the town and our 125th birthday with our neighbors,” Ashley Collier, events and park coordinator, said.
The block party is scheduled to feature fun attractions like “dunk the mayor,” a velcro wall, a birthday bounce house, air dancers, stilt walkers, an inflatable obstacle course, live music, a balloon artists, face painting and more.
A large list of vendors will be contributing to the event and engaging with the community.
“We invite all of our businesses from the 21771 (ZIP code) to participate,” said Collier. “So we have a huge list of local businesses that come down and set up interactive tables and give out information about their business or give out samples or do demos. So, all sorts of things. So, we have everything from our local karate studio, to our banks, to our boutique, any of our businesses that are located within our zip code.”
The vendors of the event will offer everything from retail business to financial services to utilities.
In honor of the 125th celebration, Mt. Airy Commons, a local retailer, will hold its grand opening, starting with a ribbon-cutting featuring Mount Airy Mayor Patrick Rockinberg at 6 p.m.
The commons grew out of a pop-up shop that would be in business over the holidays.
“It is basically a collection of small businesses,” said Erin Matthews, owner of the commons and a bookstore, Books With a Past, in the commons. “The idea is like, none of us really had the time, the staff, the money to open our own retail shop right on Main Street. So, the opportunity presented itself that we could do it as a community.”
The commons have about 14 shops, along with rotating pop-up vendors. The shops vary and offer a wide array of services.
“We’ve got a good range at this point and there’s a couple of food vendors, we’ve got a cupcake vendor, we, today, have a cheese and eggs local farm moving in," said Matthews. “There’s a couple of other small bakers and things like that. We have some clothing vendors, some people who do up cycling and then we have just a wide range of gift options.”
Mt. Airy Commons will offer light refreshments at the grand opening and some vendors will be conducting demonstrations with their products. According to Matthews some of the vendors will also have specials in honor of the town’s birthday.
“I think the big thing for us is that we’re really looking at this as sort of an opportunity to bring more people to Main Street to sort of encourage residents to shop local and to support their local businesses,” said Matthews.
Local restaurants and nonprofits will provide food for the event, according to Collier.
“We have local restaurants, we’ll also have some of our local non-profits providing things like funnel cake or hamburgers,” said Collier. “We also have a hot dog cart coming, we’ll have a local pizza business that will be giving out slices of pizza. We have another business that will be giving out samples of bruschetta. So, it’ll be a sampling, plus we have multiple restaurants downtown, they will have outdoor seating and specials going all night.”
The town is expecting some 2,500 visitors for the celebration. According to Collier, they have had 3,000 in past years but it is largely dependent upon the weather. In there is significant rain, the event would be rescheduled to the following Saturday, Aug. 31.