Merchants participating in Living Local in downtown Van Buren were pleased with last week’s turnout as they prepare for this Thurday’s event to draw people to historic Main Street.

Living Local, featuring festival-style events, will include shopping, entertainment, food and music each Thursday evening from to 8 p.m. through Dec. 15.

“Merchants indicated that they were all very happy about the turn out of people and looked forward to seeing new faces each week as we build loyalty with new customers on Main Street,” said Debbie Foliart, one of the organizers and owner of Chapters on Main.

Living Local is a joint venture of The Old Town Merchants Association, Van Buren Original and Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Lisa Willis, owner of Polish Pottery Depot and chair of the Van Buren Historic District Commission, estimated more than 100 PassPorts were given out on the first night.

A PassPort is available from any one of the 17 participating merchants beginning.

“Get ‘stickered’ by each of them as you shop Main Street,” Foliart said. “At the end of September, October, November and December, enter to win a $50 gift card that can be used on Main Street at these merchants.”

Merchants estimated about 300 were on Main Street last Thursday to take advantage of the additional shopping hours amd entertainment offered.

Nine fall market vendors that set up in front of the depot will be back in the upcoming weeks, Foliart said.

“The comments I received from the fall market vendors was one of great expectations,” Foliart said. “They were all excited to be there and willing to go the distnce to make it work.”

Additional vendors are expected during the coming weeks as the September theme is Fall Market.

This Thursday, the band One Night Only will play on the deck at Chapters on Main, 816 Main St.

Events to run concurrently with Living Local include the annual Fall Festival on Oct. 7-9, the second annual Cruisin’ on Main on Oct. 22 and Halloween on Main Oct. 29.

Nov. 10 will bring the inaugural Art Walk on Main. Center for Art and Education will spearhead the effort to feature local artists and their works for all four Thursdays in November.

Living Local will host its first Holiday Market during the three scheduled Thursdays in December.

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