It’s back to school for Chatham’s downtown Aug. 19

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Downtown Chatham BIA 08-11

Some kids may not like this month’s Downtown in the City (DTIC) theme, but for downtown Chatham after work Aug. 19, it’s all about back to school.

Katie Zimmer-Vilaranda, BIA board member, said participating stores will be open to 8 p.m., with many featuring back-to-school specials.

This is the second DTIC event this summer. The third Friday of each month, participating stores will be staying open until 8 p.m., and different themes will be featured each month.

The BIA’s Connie Beneteau said a fun event for the children this time around – especially the ones looking forward to going back to school in September, is the backpack decorating event taking place in the commons area outside the Downtown Chatham Centre. Kids can bring their own backpacks and decorate them with supplied items between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Keeping with the backpack element of the evening, Zimmer-Vilaranda said Dr. Matt McCabe will be available to show the proper way to wear a backpack, including how to adjust the straps, to minimize the chance of injuring one’s back.

The commons will be a busy spot during the evening, as there will also be performances by local cheerleading and gymnastics groups, as well as Concert in the Commons, featuring Elvis & Yesterday’s Child, with Jeff Parker performing as Elvis.

While there is music again in the commons, it’s not the only place hopping that night. Zimmer-Vilaranda said local C-K musician Brandon Babkirk will be playing in front of the Perry Molema Memorial Garden on King Street near William Street.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the downtown, the Tom Lockwood Band and the Michael Schatte Band will bring the blues in force to the Chatham Capitol Theatre at 8 p.m.

Another draw to the downtown is Pokémon GO. In fact, there’s a Pokémon GO challenge.

“We have a map on our Facebook page with all the Pokémon gyms and where to go,” she said. “With Pokémon GO, there’s always a lot of foot traffic downtown.”

Zimmer-Vilaranda encourages people to come out Aug. 19 and check out the downtown.

“It’s a free event. We just want people to come downtown and participate. Shop local. We have a lot of gems in our downtown district. Get to know them,” she said. “There really is a lot downtown. People just seem to forget that.”

DTIC in August also takes place the night before the airing of the final Tragically Hip concert, as well as the block party in Tecumseh Park.

“We want to get the party going early,” Zimmer-Vilaranda said.

She added the inaugural DTIC event in July was a success.

“The first one was great. We had a good turnout, with the Concert in the Commons. It was a good theme,” she said. “We had great participation from the merchants downtown as a lot of sales and promotions took place. We had more than 20 participate.”

Zimmer-Vilaranda said merchants got into the spirit of DTIC last month, with restaurants holding fun events, and several merchants showcasing or offering unique items.

“Barb at Barrypatch had her popcorn machine out and was featuring different flavours,” she said.

“A lot of them are really excited to keep things going,” she said of the merchants. “I like the downtown. The people are charming and always have a fun time with it. I love when they take their own spin on the theme. I can’t wait to see what they will be doing.”

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