On the first Thursday of every month, Main Street invites downtown business owners (and anyone else!) to sip a cup of Joe and chat about relevant issues at our monthly Coffee Talk. We meet at the Ivy Bake Shoppe, 8am. Coffee is on us!
Join nearly two dozen retailers, restaurants, and museums that are open until 7pm for your convenience, on the FIRST FRIDAY of every month!
All across the country, historic downtowns are adapting to the changing patterns of consumers over the last two decades. Many people now work until 5pm, or later, and cannot shop during traditional business hours of 9am-5pm. Recognizing this dilemma, some Main Street businesses decided to stay open until 7pm, on the First Friday of every month, for their shoppers’ convenience. “Our local business owners recognize that many people want time to be able to enjoy dinner downtown, and do some shopping, on a Friday night. It makes for a great date night!”
In the past, both Main Street and the Chamber, affiliates of Fort Madison Partners, have stressed the importance of shopping local and supported both the 3/50 Project and Independent We Stand movements. According to national studies, only 33.6% of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community, which is very low compared to the 64.8% return from local businesses. Ottoson states, “Buying local has a profound economic impact on Fort Madison. Look at the 3/50 Project statistics: for each $100 purchase made by a consumer, when spent locally, $68 stays in the community. Whereas at a national chain, only $43 remains. With that ratio, if every household in our community spent an extra $50/month locally (versus in national chains or online), that could mean over an additional $4,000,000 investment in Fort Madison every year!”
Artssippi is a coordinated effort between Fort Madison, Iowa and Nauvoo, Illinois. This two-city art walk includes 16 local, independently owned businesses and features 16 local artists. In 2010 and 2011, Artssippi was held over Memorial Day weekend and following week, and in 2011 it was extended to include two weekends of live artist demonstrations.
Click here to download the brochure from 2011
Big Buckle Bash – The PREMIERE pre-Rodeo event in the Tri-State area! The first annual Big Buckle Bash was held in 2011 and had over 500 people downtown, rockin’ out to country hits and dancin’ in the street! Visit www.bigbucklebash.com for more details. In 2012, the event will be held on August 18th from 5-11pm. We are looking for arts & crafts vendors, food vendors, and classic car enthusiasts for a Cruise In!
Sidewalk Sales – a Fort Madison Tradition! Every Labor Day weekend, the downtown business owners celebrate with huge sales and savings! The sidewalks are lined with great buys, including shoes, furniture, home decor, clothes, jewelry, and accessories!
Beggars’ Night - The traditional trick-or-treat event held in downtown businesses for children of all ages, including adults! Residents are encouraged to dress up and visit all of our businesses for their spooktacular treats! Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 5-7pm.
Historic river towns have their share of haunts and the paranormal, and Fort Madison is no different! Every other year, our Ghost Hunt allows for visitors to document the paranormal activity that surrounds us. On Friday, Oct 19th or Saturday, Oct 20th, visit six private (and reportedly haunted) locations with Mysteries of the Night Paranormal specialists…bring your digital camera, if you dare! This is an adult only event (ages 18+) and tickets are $25, available at: FMAAA, Fort Madison Main Street, The Bookmark and Weird Harold’s in Burlington, starting on October 1st. Participants have their choice of Fri or Sat night. Event starts at 7pm. Sponsored by the Fort Madison Area Arts Association and Fort Madison Main Street. Call 1-800-210-TOUR for more info, ticket sales (including purchases by credit card) and for lodging discounts.
We highly recommend that everyone who attends bring their digital camera, so you can document the orbs! Tickets are for your choice of Fri or Sat night and include entry to all six locations and a private after-party. Meet at the Lost Duck Brewing Company, where the tours will start promptly at 7pm.
Wanna make it a weekend? There’s a ton to do here during a beautiful fall weekend! The Knights Inn is offering rooms at 15-20% discounts for our Ghost Hunters, and we suggest checking out some of the following activities during that weekend:
Steppin’ Up for Main Street is a fundraiser for downtown revitalization and historic preservation features at least four homes in Fort Madison every year, with a minimum of two upper-story rehabilitations from the downtown area. This is the only opportunity to tour these private spaces which have unique and historic architectural features and the amazing spaces! Main Street’s goal is to educate the public on the importance of upper-story adaptive re-use and the financial incentives available to them.
Holiday Queen Contest Come and see some of Fort Madison’s finest young ladies present their background, accomplishments, and future goals all while dressed in beautiful gowns and vying for the crown! The Holiday Queen Contest will take place in November 2013.
Shop n’ sip at the Wine & Beer Walk! Our historic commercial district and quaint boutiques offer wine, beer and even distillery samples from local and regional producers. Join us at our third annual Wine & Beer Walk (event page) on November 16, 2012, 5-8pm.
For the past 20 years a group in Fort Madison have been building lighted floats and organizing the Parade of Lights. Truly a lighted parade with over 50 floats. A time to bring your family and friends to Fort Madison’s Main Street District and create holiday traditions. Lighted floats will be on display in Riverview Park through the first week in January. Holiday cheer is in the air, in downtown Fort Madison, with decorations and maybe even a visit from Santa Claus! Held every year on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving (in 2012, it will be on Friday, November 23, at 6:30pm)
Sensational Chefs – The most exquisite gastronomical event in the Fort Madison area! Hosted at the Ivy Bake Shoppe every January, a select group of local professional and amateur chefs offer 4-7 course gourmet meals. Since its inception in January 2010, this Main Street fundraiser has sold out in a matter of days and reservations are always in extremely high demand. For the last two years, we even had a waiting list! Click here to visit the page for January 2012!