Come on, let's go downtown

Rutherfordton hosting Shop & Play Saturdays
Jun. 14, 2013 @ 05:06 AM

Residents as well as visitors to Rutherford County now have the opportunity to enjoy local shopping and a variety of children's activities along the streets of historic downtown Rutherfordton every third Saturday of each month through October during Shop & Play Saturdays.

Beginning this Saturday, merchants along Main Street will offer activities for children to encourage adults to visit downtown and shop locally.

"One of the things STEP (Small Town Economic Prosperity) was looking for was something unique that our town had that other towns did not have, and we came up with the fact that Rutherfordton has the KidSenses Children's Museum," said Cindy Adair, a member of the STEP committee. "We decided to play off of KidSenses and do something in the summer and fall called Shop & Play, where we have activities going on downtown for kids that will hopefully draw in parents to shop."

This Saturday's theme is 'Gifts and Gardening Fun' and will include a variety of outside activities connected with gardening.

"KidSenses will provide nature-bases activities so that we can show kids how awesome the great outdoors is," said Joseph Knight, director of education at KidSenses. "We serve a very crucial role in the community with providing a safe and fun place for parents and children to come and look, learn and grow together."

During Shop & Play, KidSenses will have tours in its Discovery Garden and up-close-and-personal encounters with a live, working bee hive; checkers, sidewalk chalk and pot decorating will be featured in the park on Main Street; the Visual Arts Guild will provide additional items for kids to decorate; and a water play area will be set up nearby the Firehouse Inn.

"We really want children and their families to come to downtown Rutherfordton so they can explore and play in the museum, and so they can also explore downtown to see some of the local treasures that can be found with our merchants," Knight said.

All participating merchants will have a red balloon displayed in front of their shops to indicate they are offering activities for kids.

Upcoming Shop & Play Saturdays will be on July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 21 and Oct. 19.

"Shop & Play is the town's way of saying, we have a unique business in our area and we're trying to market ourselves towards that," Adair said. "This is a new concept and we're trying to get more people to shop and play at home."