Downtown girls night outs are the new thing.
An internet search of the phrase yields pages of links to different cities all over the country who have hosted an event aimed at providing after-hours shopping and a fun way to experience downtown culture.
Pilot Mountain Commissioner Kim Quinn started Ladies Night Out in her town last November, with additional nights in December, April and June.
Mount Airy will join the popular trend with its own Girls Night Out on Friday, Nov. 11 from 4 to 8 p.m., hosted by the Downtown Business Association.
“Girls Night Out is the perfect way for ladies in the community to treat themselves with a fun night with friends while supporting local small businesses,” said Lizzie Morrison, coordinator of Mount Airy Downtown Inc., which is a partnering organization.
About 25 (so far) participating businesses will be open late during the event and offer special deals, giveaways and other special extras.
“There will be everything from champagne fountains, wine tastings, chocolate making, live music, and more,” said Morrison.
“Several downtown businesses will be hosting vendors within their businesses,” she added.
Participating businesses will place a sign on the sidewalk so folks know they are open for the event.
Free welcome bags and flyers showing participating businesses will be available at each of the three starting points: The Mount Airy Visitor Center, Welcome Home Décor on Market Street and Rustic Revival on Pine Street.
“We are always wanting to encourage people to think of downtown as a district that includes side streets, so this is the perfect opportunity to get people walking through the district,” Morrison explained.
Jennie Lowry, secretary of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) and owner of Old Mille Music on Main Street, explained that the event holds as much promise for shoppers as for the businesses.
“Personally I feel like it gives people an opportunity,” said Lowry. “It’s giving people a little bit of extra shopping time. A lot of people work during the times that businesses here are open. If they don’t come downtown a lot because businesses close early this may give them time to visit some stores they haven’t been able to go to yet. We’ve also got several new businesses and hopefully people can go in and visit those as well.”
Morrison, who is helping promote the event, expects a good turnout for the city’s inaugural girls night.
“The Girls Night Out event has created a lot of buzz around town and online,” she said. “According to Facebook analytics, the event page has already reached over 57,000 people. If the event is successful, it certainly won’t be the last Girls Night Out in downtown Mount Airy. We hope this will be an ongoing event.”
Another special treat organizers thought to include is childcare, which will be provided at Reeves Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m. for a $10 participation fee.
“We’re so excited to be able to offer that,” Lowry said. “I have three small children and (childcare) is something that is important to me. I love to take my kids everywhere but sometimes it’s good to get away, too, and they might not want to be looking in every store.”
Those interested in taking advantage of the childcare should call the community center to reserve a space in advance.
Lowry noted that the shops won’t be turning away any men during the event.
“Anybody can come, it’s not just for women,” she said. “The DBA and participating businesses are really excited. I just hope folks will come out and enjoy it with us.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.