/Tag: Downtown Traverse City

7 Tips for Travelers to the Traverse City Film Festival

 

Film Festival Flow Chart graphic

It’s time for the annual Traverse City Film Festival. It’s a great chance to discover new movies, attend fun events and enjoy the hospitality of our city. We thought we’d share a few tips on how to be a traveler — not a tourist — during the film festival.

Standby line outcomes pie chart

Film Festival Tips for Travelers

  1. Take advantage of the free festival shuttle provided by BATA. The Bayline will bring you into town from your hotel. And look for details about their festival loop traveling between film venues. The buses are all ADA accessible, air conditioned and have wifi.
  2. Travelers know it pays to be flexible. If you didn’t get tickets to a movie, try the standby line. You just might get in, even if you don’t get to sit with your friends.
  3. Not all the movies are shown at The State and The Bijou. Make sure you know where your movie is playing before you get in line.
  4. Speaking of lines, bring a little patience. Don’t be that tourist who thinks lines are for other people.
  5. As long as you’re here to binge watch, why not be a traveler and venture out to our surrounding communities and take in a movie at The Garden in Frankfort, the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay or check out northern Michigan’s only drive-in movie theater at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In in Honor.
    Film Festival Movies pie chart
  6. The outdoor movies in the Open Space are not to be missed. They’re free, they’re family-friendly and there’s usually something for everyone. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and arrive before dusk to claim your spot on the lawn. Here’s the Open Space lineup for this year:
    Tuesday | Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
    Wednesday | 9 to 5
    Thursday | The Greatest Showman
    Friday | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
    Saturday | Black Panther
    Sunday | Coco
  7. The Traverse City Film Festival is the perfect excuse to spend the day downtown. Try a new restaurant, grab a drink with some friends, or do a little wine tasting. Our Dining Guide can be a helpful resource if you’re looking to try something new. It’s fun to be a traveler for the day, even if you’re a local.

Check out this year’s TCFF promotional video below:

We hope you use our tips to be a traveler during the Traverse City Film Festival. Enjoy the shows!

By |2018-12-12T08:45:08+00:00July 31st, 2018|Arts & Culture, Events, Family Fun, Travel Tips|0 Comments

Cherry Stop Re-Opens as Old Mission Traders

Old Mission Traders Traverse Traveler cardAfter a month long transition, and a move next-door, the owners of the Cherry Stop have re-opened their business as Old Mission Traders.

 

The Cherry Stop first moved downtown in 2002 and operated as the only cherry-centric store in Downtown Traverse City. Owners Nick & Jamie Roster purchased the business in 2005 and began updating, remodling and adding new features. They expanded their product lines to include a large selection of local Michigan wines, which prompted the addition of UnCorked, an all-Michigan wine bar. 

Over the last few years the Rosters brought much of the production in-house and began to produce homemade fudge, bakery items and experiment with new lines for The Cherry Stop. They added barbeque sauce, mustards and developed natural low-sugar versions of their popular jam. But they were always limited to Cherries.

Traverse City has grown as a foodie town. The Rosters realized there were so many companies they already carried that offered wonderful products beyond cherries. From nut butters to viniagrettes they wanted to do more. And the concept for Old Mission Traders was born.

After the closure of the Uncorked wine bar they had more elbow room than they needed. The opportunity to swap spaces with Momentum arose and it seemed like a perfect fit. Despite the proximity of the move, there was a lot of work to be done to make the new space suit their needs. Floors were refinished, displays were built, and a kitchen had to go in downstairs for all their homemade products.

 

Old Mission Traders Opening

Today Old Mission Traders officially opens their doors to the public, just in time for the Winter Comedy Arts Festival in downtown Traverse City. Inside you’ll find the same friendly staff, and all the products you knew and loved from The Cherry Stop. Soon there will be new products under the Old Mission Traders name including a maple viniagrette and a pear vanilla bean dessert sauce.

Old Mission Traders interiorOld Mission Traders interior

So while you’re laughing it up at the Comedy Fest this weekend stop in and say hi to our friends at Old Mission Traders at 215 E. Front Street, downtown Traverse City. You can also continue to shop online at TheCherryStop.com until the Old Mission Traders website is up and running.

Stay tuned for a grand opening soon when some of the Old Mission Traders products are bottled and ready to be unveiled.

By |2013-02-15T10:26:07+00:00February 15th, 2013|Traverse City|0 Comments

Traverse Traveler Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Traverse Traveler Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Writing a Holiday Gift Guide has become a tradition. I realize scouring the stores in search of the perfect gift isn’t for everyone. So I try to help out this time of year and do a little hunting on your behalf. Secretly I’m also trying to show some support for our local retailers who work so hard to find unique items that rival that of chain stores and online giants. Why buy big box, when you can buy local and boost the economy in our own backyard.

This year I’ve divided my shopping list into the following categories. I hope you’ll find something that’s just right for a friend or loved one.

Goodies for Foodies

All Geeked Out

Girlfriend Gifts

Wine About It

Hostess with the Mostest

For the Kiddos

 

Goodies for Foodies

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Sleeping Bear Raw HoneySleeping Bear Farms Raw Honey | MI Farm Market $12.99
One of my absolute favorite food discoveries this year is this raw honey from Sleeping Bear Farms in Beulah, Michigan. This is natural, uncooked, unfiltered honey. It’s a little cloudy and granular but all the better for it. And it’s full of health benefits from the enzymes, pollen and floral essences the bees leave behind. One of my secret weapons against a cold is a teaspoon of this honey the moment I feel a sore throat coming on. Honey has antibacterial qualities. And who doesn’t love an excuse to eat a spoonful of goodness!

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Cranberry Cherry SauceCranberry Cherry Sauce | The Cherry Stop $7.00
We love our cherry products in Northern Michigan. But sometimes it’s hard to find something new for the cherry lover in the family. Here’s one I discovered on a recent trip to the Cherry Stop. Instead of the traditional cranberry sauce with your turkey this year why not liven it up with cranberry cherry sauce. No need for a recipe, the folks at The Cherry Stop have mixed up a batch with just the right blend.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Fustinis MinisCookbook Samplers | Fustini’s $49.00
Anyone who has seen my kitchen counter knows how much I love Fustini’s. And I’ve given their oil & vinegar combinations as gifts in the past. So what’s new this year? They have a brand new cookbook, "How Fustini’s Do Fustini’s," a compilation of recipes from Fustini’s employees and customers. And for the holidays they’ve paired it with 4 mini bottles of oils & vinegars in flavor combos that work with the book. Choose from 4 sampler packages and try something new this season.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Gallery Fifty tongsHandmade Wooden Tongs | Gallery 50 $15.00 and $19.00
Why not have a little fine art in the kitchen? Stop by Gallery 50 in The Village Mercato and choose from a selection of handmade wooden tongs. Constructed from beautiful materials like zebrawood and rosewood, and available in large or small sizes, these handmade tongs are as stylish as they are functional. Great gift idea for men and women, for the chef or the casual cook.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Sleeping Bear Farms mustardSleeping Bear Farms Pepper Honey Mustard | MI Farm Market $4.99
Mustard is probably my favorite condiment, next to homemade salsa. So it’s nice to find a fun new alternative to the store bought standbys. This Pepper Honey Mustard has a great kick from real chili peppers. And of course it includes some Sleeping Bear Farms star thistle honey. Great for spreading on sandwiches, as a dip for pretzels or as a glaze on fish or meats headed for the grill.

 


All Geeked Out

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Rocker iPhone caseRocker iPhone Case | The Pod Drop $19.00
Cases for the iPhone 5 are somewhat hard to find since they’re still new on the market. But The Pod Drop has you covered. Stop by their location in Campus Plaza next to Jimmy Johns and check out the line of Rocker cases. The silicone skin pairs with a hard body case (sold separately), and comes in dozens of colors and patterns, which make these cases completely customizable. And at $8.99 for the skin, and $9.99 for the cover, they’re priced right for stocking stuffers too.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Nest knit glovesSmartphone Gloves | Nest $27.00
As you can imagine, I’m on my iPhone all the time, especially when I’m out and about town. Now that winter is here I’m constantly removing my gloves so I can answer a call, scroll through messages on Twitter or snap a photo on Instagram. I’ve tried other versions of smartphone gloves with little luck…and they weren’t very cute either. That’s why I love these knit gloves I found at Nest. Cute and functional.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 FRUITstand FRUITstand | CityMac $10.00
Here’s a cool local product for the tech geek. FRUITstand is a simple plastic-coated stand to hold a variety of eDevices, or iDevices if you prefer. It’s small, lightweight, and best of all it’s made by a Traverse City company, PDM Industries. I discovered the FRUITstand on a recent trip into CityMac. They’re available in a variety of fresh colors. Whether you’re looking for a landing spot for your Kindle, or a charging station for you iPhone or iPad, this little stand will do the trick. And at that price if you take it on vacation and forget it you won’t sweat the replacement cost. Now if you forget your device…that’s another story.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Paper RobotsPiperoid Paper Pipe Robots | Cool Stuff Express $15.95
For the kid, or the kid at heart, there’s a big trend in paper art and origami. These cool creations are made from printed and punched paper pipes that are folded into crazy robots. Does your cubicle need a little comic entertainment? If you thought origami was too girly, this might change your mind.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Q-Man magnetsMini Q-Man & Q-Ant Magnets | Cool Stuff Express $3.97 — $6.95
Trying to find something for that hard-to-buy-for teen in your family? Guys, gals and geeks will love these bendable, flexible, colorful magnet men and giant ants. The powerful magnets stick to each other or metal surfaces allowing for connectable, collectable fun. They’re also strong enough to support 14 sheets of paper! Hang ’em in a locker, file cabinet or on the fridge. Image courtesy of Cool Stuff Express

 


Girlfriend Gifts

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Becky Thatcher Designs necklaceStarry Night Necklace | Becky Thatcher Designs starting at $275.00
I love a classic necklace that can dress up an outfit, or be worn with a casual sweater and jeans. That’s what drew me to this beautiful jewelry from Becky Thatcher Designs in Traverse City. Made from black spinel and freshwater pearls in a variety of shades from white to gray this necklace would be a lovely addition to anyone’s jewelry collection. And the matching earrings start at $65. Perfect.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Return of Sexy eyeshadowReturn of Sexy Eyeshadow Collection | Venus $48.00
Ladies who love a little drama will be drawn to this wet/dry eyeshadow collection from Too Faced. There are three color collections, 15 shadows full of sparkle and dimension, a waterproof black liner and eyeshadow insurance (a primer for your eyelids). That’s bringin’ sexy back.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Book of the MonthSurprise Book of the Month | Brilliant Books $66.00 – $295.00
This is a brilliant idea from Brilliant Books. If you have a literary fan who is always searching for a new read, consider giving them a new title every month. Each subscription is unique because the book selections are based on the reader’s preferences in genre, author, likes and dislikes. You can give a year of hardcover books ($295) or paperback ($185) or choose 6-month or 4-month options for as little as $66. In the six years since they started the program they’ve only had three books come back for exchange — and two were because the recipient already read and loved the selection.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 felted hatsFelted Wool Hats by Hatty Matty | Lilies of the Alley $24.95 — $64.95
A handmade hat is a statement of style. And in northern Michigan it’s practically a necessity. I love these beautiful hats from Hatty Matty, aka Cindy Hardy the owner of Lilies of the Alley. These felted wool hats come in all sorts of styles and colors. And there are sizes for kids as well as adults with a range in prices for each. In case you’ve never been, Lilies of the Alley is tucked in the alley behind Brew and Brilliant Books in downtown Traverse City.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Butter lips and tipsLips & Tips | Venus $25.00
This cute combo comes from the folks at Butter, a London brand know for their fashion-forward colors. The nail polish and lip gloss from Butter is vegan-friendly, making this a great gift for the animal lover too. Venus carries a full line of Butter nail polish selections, but I especially loved some of their holiday line which is full of sparkle for the glam affect. Every girlfriend needs a little glitter, right?

 



Wine About It

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Gallery 50 corkscrew2-in-1 Corkscrew & Bottle Stopper | Gallery 50 $35.00
Need a classy gift for your boss? Are you going to a holiday party and looking for something for the hostess who has everything? Choose from a selection of hand-turned wooden bottle stoppers. Twist the handle and you’ll revel the corkscrew hidden inside. I’m loving the green ones, made from box elder wood.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 wine stackerStack wine bottle storage | Cool Stuff Express $9.95
This clever little black silicone wine bottle is the secret to storing your wine in a stack on the counter just like you’re supposed to… horizontally. Simply separate the bottle into two halves and position on either side of your wine bottles along a shelf or counter. The silicone grips to smooth surfaces and acts like bookends for your wine. Image courtesy of Cool Stuff Express

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 cork purseCork Purses | Gallery 50 $45.00 – $78.00
I am crazy for corks. In fact, I’ve created a whole Pinterest board dedicated to cork crafts. But I have yet to see another cork craft like this. Artist Jean Ackerman from Kingsley, Michigan is creating cork purses, many of which are decorated with corks from Michigan wineries. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a Michigan wine lover I think we’ve got you covered.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 wine canteensSport Wine Canteen | Black Star Farms $26.50
Backpackers and beach goers will love this new canteen available in Rouge (red) and Blanc (green). If you’ve ever wanted to bring a bottle of wine to the park, on the boat or on a picnic, but worried about the glass bottle this is the perfect solution. These eco-friendly metal containers will fit a full bottle of wine! Take your vino to go, and no one will know. Comes in a variety of colors. Available at TASTES of Black Star Farms in The Village.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Forty-Five North RoseRosé of Cabernet Franc | Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery $26.00
With hundreds of Michigan wines to choose from, it’s tough to narrow it down to one. So this is one of many that make up my list of favorites. The Rosé of Cabernet Franc from Forty-Five North is a great choice for holiday gifting because it suits so many palattes. I drink mosty whites, and lean toward the sweet, but this wine I love. My husband loves a good red, and he too was drawn to this rosé. Notes from the winemaker alude to big aromas of cherry and raspberry, a creamy mouth feel and noticeable tannins. This wine is great to give as well as receive. Image courtesy of Forty-Five North

 



Hostess with the Mostest

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 soy votive candleSoy Votive Candles | Red Ostrich $6.95
Looking for the hot seller this season? Search no further than these little beauties from Red Ostrich. Forget the tequila, pick up a double shot of soy. Soy candles that is. They carry 25 scents including the popular orange vanilla, black pepper and holiday spice. These tiny 2 oz. candles are an eco-friendly gift that everyone can enjoy. They burn clean and smell wonderful and are Made in the USA. Image courtesy of Red Ostrich

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Paper Blanks journalsPaper Blanks | Premier Floral $17.00 – $29.00
It’s so much nicer to keep a journal when the process of holding and opening it are a pleasure. This collection of lined and unlined journals from Paper Blanks are really beautiful. I love the texture of the covers, and they have a lovely metal latch closure that harkens back to locked diaries and forbidden secrets. With traditional patterns these designs would also be suitable for man who loves to write or draw, or for use as a cottage guest book.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 turtle dove soapsTurtle Doves Soaps | Venus $32.00
Your friends will feel so special when presented with this pretty package dressed in silver moire. Open it up and discover two turtle doves made of silky soap scented with tulip and hyacinth, resting in a porcelain bowl. It’s elegant enough for your mother-in-law to put next to the towels in the guest bath or thoughtful enough for your dearest friend.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 dog pillowDog Pillows | Premier Floral $25.00
If your friend is a dog lover they’ll fall for these colorful and cozy pillows inspired by their four-legged friends. The moment I saw the Boston Tea Terrier I thought of my best friend who grew up with the bug-eyed little cuties. There are several designs to choose from including Eager Beagle and Black Lab Summer Cottages.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 twig pencilsTwig Pencils | Gallery 50 $7.50 or $9.50
If your host is a letter writer, or they love the lodge look, these pencils will be a handy addition to their desk. If not, they’ll look great in a cup next to the phone at the cottage. Either way, these fat twig pencils, available in traditional or colored varieties, make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer for the kids. Need to get to the point? Simply carve with a knife to sharpen the tip.

 



For the Kiddos

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 magnetic boardMagnetic Boards | Sweet Pea $14.95 / $22.95
Room decor is tough when the kids interests change every year. So why not keep it flexible and give them a magnetic board that looks great and can be decorated with the recipient in mind. These scalloped-edged metal squares are available in 12" x 12" or 18" x 18" sizes in several colors. This company sells a huge variety of magnet designs to completely customize the board. From alphabet letters to animals to holidays and more.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Gamago PhoneyGamaGo Phoney | Cool Stuff Express $4.95
The latest trend coming from Japan are these cute little animals to decorate your tween’s phone. They plug into the headphone jack, which means they’ll fit nearly any style smartphone, tablet or MP3 player. "A friend for your phone," they say. Kids will love to collect these little plastic pets and customize their tech gadgets.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 kids booksChildren’s Books | Brilliant Books $15.99 – $16.99
I stopped in to Brilliant Books to get a few recommendations for new titles the kids might like. Extra Yarn, The Cloud Spinner and This is Not My Hat would be great books for children 4-9 years old. They have colorful illustrations and stories that help children appreciate the value of Things. For more recommendations visit Brilliant Books and ask for Heather or Jack.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 kids candyCrazy Candy | Cool Stuff Express prices vary
Kids always love what’s gooey, gross and flavored in unexpected ways. Cool Stuff Express on Union Street in Traverse City has a huge collection of all of the above. Some of this year’s most popular trends include anything with mustaches or bacon, tongue tattoos, flavored lipbalm and mints. And for the boys and girls who were less than cheery this holiday season: the classic gummy candy coal.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Elf on the ShelfElf on the Shelf | Toy Harbor $31.00
If you’re looking for a fun and engaging activity book to share with your children or grandchildren during the holiday season pick up an Elf on the Shelf. The book comes with an elf (boy or girl elf options now available) and a story book explaining how Santa sends scout elves out each Christmas to report on chilldren’s behavior. Once opened the children can name and register the elf at elfonashelf.com. Thanks to Christmas magic the elf travels each night to see Santa, and reappears in your home in a different location. My kids love finding out what our elf, Scuttle, has been up to while we were sleeping.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my collection of Holiday shopping ideas. You can find all of these items in northern Michigan stores, and many are available on their respective websites as well. Please spend some of your time and money this season supporting our local economy. Your gifts will be more unique, and your money will stay in the community.

 

Happy Holidays from Traverse Traveler!

By |2012-12-05T14:12:52+00:00December 5th, 2012|Hometown Highlights, Traverse City|0 Comments

Traverse Traveler Buys 13 iPads for Students with Autism

Scavenger Hunt for Autism LogoScavenger Hunt for Autism iPads

Brandy Wheeler, creator of the Traverse Traveler app and owner of Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas, purchased 13 iPads with the proceeds from the first-annual Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism. The iPads have been donated to Traverse City Area Public Schools for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

 

Last April, eighty-four teams took to the streets of downtown Traverse City for the inaugural Scavenger Hunt for Autism. Teams used the Traverse Traveler app and a QR code reader to discover downtown businesses, check-in and unlock a clue for an activity at each location. Volunteers stationed at every venue assisted with the on-site challenge, and handed out prize tickets. Participants encountered puzzles and games that challenged their brains, their sense of direction, and teamwork.

iPad image

The event was a fundraiser for the iPads for Autism program at Traverse City Area Public Schools, a pilot program started in 2011 which provided iPads for 9 students at TCAPS with Autism Spectrum Disorder. To grow this program and meet the needs of their 120 students with autism, Traverse Traveler joined TCAPS Partner in Education program.

 

The Scavenger Hunt drew participation from a diverse crowd of 337 participants including families, educators, children with autism and disabled adults as well as community members from as far as Petoskey.

 

The fundraiser generated donations from event sponsors, team registrations and private donors and raised over $14,700 for the iPads for Autism Program. More than $9000 was donated directly to TCAPS through the Partner in Education program. Over the summer TCAPS added 6 iPads and purchased app packages designed to meet the specific needs of students with Autism. The iPads will help grow a lending library to expedite student assessment, trial different applications and assign devices more quickly.

 

As part of the licensing agreement with retailers schools are required to purchase Apple products directly from Apple. But event founder Brandy Wheeler wanted to show support for the local businesses. “This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our business community. I’m thrilled that we can purchase our iPads locally from CityMac and donate them to TCAPS to grow the iPads for Autism program.”

 

The positive response from event participants and venues, combined with the commitment from title sponsor Lucky Jack’s, has event organizers already planning for next year. For more information on the Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism and to find out how you can volunteer visit TraverseTraveler.com/Autism or find them on Facebook.

 

Photo:  Brandy Wheeler from Traverse Traveler and Jame McCall, Special Education Director at Traverse City Area Public Schools gathered today at CityMac for the iPad purchase. They were joined by members of the Scavenger Hunt for Autism committee including Jamie Roster, Kathy DiMercurio, Kate Daggett and Nick Nerbonne, and event sponsors Mike Mohrhardt of Lucky Jacks, Josh Russell of Jimmy Johns and Greg Nickerson from CityMac.

 

By |2012-09-27T13:39:11+00:00September 27th, 2012|Mealtickets News, Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments

Sara Hardy Farm Market Continues During Cherry Festival

Sara Hardy Farmers Market imageSara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market Moves to Old Town Parking Deck July 7 & 14
 
The Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market is to take place at the Old Town Parking Deck on July 7 and 14. The market will be held on the ground floor from 8 am to Noon. Customers may enter convenient parking on the upper floors of Old Town Deck off of Eighth Street. The July 11 market has been canceled.  The DDA would also like to remind the public that the market will be held on the 4th of July. 
 
The DDA has been working with the USDA and the State of Michigan on programs to enhance opportunities for fresh food to be easily accessible and affordable for all. Bridge Cards are now accepted at the market through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Project Fresh, Senior Project Fresh and Double Up Food Bucks are also accepted at the market.
 
Following the National Cherry Festival, the market will continue on Wednesdays through September from 8 am to Noon and Saturdays through October from 7:30 am to Noon. The market takes place in Lot B, across from Clinch Park on the Grandview Parkway.
 
Over 100 vendors and tens of thousands of patrons each year make the market the largest in Northwest Michigan and the best place to find locally grown produce. Products available at the market include artisan bread, flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables, honey and eggs. The market also offers varieties of organic products.

For more information visit downtowntc.org

By |2012-06-29T08:39:07+00:00June 29th, 2012|Traverse City|0 Comments

Downtown TC Farmers Market Opens Saturday

Celebrate Spring with a Trip to the Farmers Market

 

The 2012 Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market season begins on Saturday, May 12. The market will run on Saturdays through October 27. The Wednesday market will begin on June 6 and run through September, with a short break during the National Cherry Festival. The Saturday market will now start at 7:30am to Noon, and Wednesdays starting at 8am. The Sara Hardy Farmer’s Market is located in the parking Lot B, across from Clinch Park on the Grandview Parkway in Downtown Traverse City.

 

The Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market continues to emphasize home grown products from the local area. Over 100 vendors and tens of thousands of patrons each year make the market the largest in Northwest Michigan and the best place to find locally-grown produce. Products available at the market include artisan bread, flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables, honey and eggs including some organic products.

 

For more information on events in Downtown Traverse City visit their website at DowntownTC.com or call 231.922.2050. For a map of the Downtown area visit our Attractions page.
 

By |2012-05-11T07:09:46+00:00May 11th, 2012|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Why I Celebrate Autism Awareness Month

April 2nd is World Autism Awarenss Day. It’s a day to recognize, celebrate and show your support for the Autism community. I’ve been celebrating for the last 5 years by sharing information about autism on my personal blog, through social media, and by donating to Autism Speaks. This year I decided it was time to do something bigger. I have a mission to support the autism community in Traverse City, Michigan by putting iPads in the hands of every TCAPS student with Autism.

Today, I hope to Light it up Blue by sharing my story, and my goals.

— Brandy Wheeler

This article was first published by the wonderful ladies at Grand Traverse Woman. You can pick up their March/April 2012 print edition on newstands now.

 

Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism

Autism is a puzzle. We can’t figure out what causes it. There is no "cure" because it’s not a disease. And it’s affecting an alarming number of children and adults. New studies report 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So what can we do about it?
 
I ask myself that question everyday. I am a mom. My 9-year-old son has Autism. That diagnosis filled me with heart-breaking fears of what his life, and ours, was going to be like now that the A-bomb had been dropped upon us.
 
He was three when we had him evaluated by the school district and the results were clear. Autism. He didn’t make a lot of eye contact, was nowhere near ready to potty train, and had never once said, "I love you, mom." But he was smart. So smart. He memorized jingles on TV and would sing them as we drove past the business. From the backseat I’d hear, "Ba-da, ba-ba-ba, I’m lovin’ it!" as we cruised by McDonalds, followed by, "Higher standards, lower prices," when Meijer came into view. He taught himself to read at the age of three, but still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes. In kindergarten he made a map of the United States out of Play-Doh from memory and could answer Presidential trivia faster than a Jeopardy champion. But if I buy the wrong kind of macaroni and cheese, he won’t eat it. The slightest changes in classroom routine could bring him to tears. Simply understanding that when a friend says, "hello" in the hallway you should look up and say hello in response, doesn’t even occur to him.
 
So how do we, as parents, and community members, reach out and try to connect with these children that are silently struggling to navigate in this world that is so foreign to them? We play to their strengths, and accept their weaknesses.
 
One of my goals, from the time my son was diagnosed, has been to increase autism awareness. It’s challenging, because Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means there are extreme variations in behaviors and capabilities of children with this diagnosis. Some are unable to communicate verbally, some have sensitivities to light and sound and touch. Some children have learning disabilities and may be prone to violence, while others appear typical and perform off-the-charts on achievement. But there are similarities as well. The characteristic that draws my attention is their fascination with technology.
 
Autistic Student with iPadChildren with Autism are drawn to technology like flies to a picnic. Television, video games, computers, smartphones and now the iPad offer endless fascination and attraction. While we’ve all heard the warnings about the dangers of too much screen time, I don’t think we’ve given enough credit to the benefits for children with certain disabilities. Here technology can be a conduit through which we can communicate like never before. And it’s working.
 
Autism app on iPadSchools across the Country are beginning to use iPads as a tool for communication and learning for their students with Autism. Each iPad is assigned to a specific student, and loaded with apps that cater to their individual needs. There are communication apps like Proloque2go which help non-verbal students form sentences on the screen with a drag-and-drop motion then turn text-to-speech. There are visual schedules which allow teachers to replace bulky velcro picture boards that took up the full backside of a classroom door and give the independence and privacy back to the students. There are apps for building social skills by practicing conversations, offer iRewards, help students make decisions, and even handle frustration. My new favorite, Sosh, lets you type negative thoughts on the screen then throw them in the shredder and watch as they’re chopped to bits. Technology isn’t just cool for these kids, it’s life-changing. But it does come with a price tag.
 
In 2011 Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) decided to create a pilot program to test the use of iPads for students with Autism. They purchased 9 iPads, loaded with autism apps and distributed them throughout the district to those with the greatest needs. The trouble is, there are approximately 120 students in TCAPS with Autism. So how do we meet that need when budgets are shrinking and the want list is a mile long? That’s the call I hope to answer.
 
I launched a new development of my own last year, the Traverse Traveler iPhone app. It’s a handy mobile guide to the Traverse Area featuring restaurants, wineries, lodging, shopping, events and more. As with most new technology it takes some time and some tinkering to realize all that it can do. When I heard about the TCAPS iPads for Autism program I realized we had an opportunity to create a unique fundraising event: social media for social good. It’s technology supporting technology, for a cause that’s close to my heart.

Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism
 
The Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism will take place from 1pm -3pm on Saturday April 14, 2012 in downtown Traverse City, Michigan. In this one-day event participants will use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app (FREE to download) to conduct a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Traverse City. Teams of up to 5 people will navigate from place to place, use the app to check-in at each location, complete tasks and collect raffle tickets along the way. Instructions for each activity and clues to the next location are supplied by the app.
 
Lucky Jack's logoI wanted to create a unique fundraising event that’s fun for families and raises money based on participation. Our presenting sponsor, Lucky Jack’s bought into our fundraising concept to Pay-Per-Check-in, whereby increasing the monies raised with every person, and every stop. All proceeds from the event will be donated to TCAPS to purchase iPads and apps for students with Autism.
 
Here’s how you can help:

Register your team for only $20 and participate in the event

Donate a used iPad2 to TCAPS. Drop off your used iPads at CityMac and TCAPS will mail you a receipt for your tax deductible donation.

Make a cash Donation to the iPads for Autism program. $500 will purchase an iPad. $150 will purchase a suite of apps. Every dollar helps!

By |2012-04-01T21:21:19+00:00April 1st, 2012|Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments

Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism Announced

Traverse Traveler to Host Scavenger Hunt to Benefit TCAPS Students with Autism

Scavenger Hunt for Autism Logo

The first annual Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism will take place in Traverse City, Michigan on Saturday, April 14, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. In this one-day event participants will use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app to conduct a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Traverse City. Utilizing an innovative approach to fundraising, the event will raise money to purchase iPads for Traverse City Area Public Schools students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

Traverse Traveler appHere’s How The Scavenger Hunt Works:

 

  • Participants register as teams for one of two event tracks: the Family Track featuring kid-friendly activities and less walking, and the Challenge Track geared toward adults and teens. All courses are family-friendly, walkable and fun.
     
  • Teams of up to 5 people will navigate from business to business, use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app (available for FREE in the iPhone App Store) to ‘check in’ at each location, complete tasks and collect prize tickets along the way.
     
  • Instructions for each activity and clues to the next location are supplied by the app.
     
  • At the end of the scavenger hunt, all teams will cross the finish line at the City Opera House to celebrate their accomplishments, enjoy refreshments and win prizes.
     
  • Corporate and individual donors commit to ‘Pledge Per Check-in,’ whereby increasing the fundraising efforts with every person, and every stop.

 

Brandy Wheeler, creator of the Traverse Traveler app, a handy mobile guide to the Traverse City region, designed this unique event to increase community awareness about Autism, a disorder that affects 1 in 110 children — including her 9-year-old son.

There are approximately 120 students in TCAPS with Autism. It’s a neurological disorder that can impair an individual’s ability to communicate and develop social skills. The severity of the disorder and the symptoms vary dramatically. Some children are unable to develop speech, some experience sensory issues, and others, diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, are highly intelligent but lack basic social skills most people take for granted.
 
In early 2011 Wheeler discovered a pilot program launched by TCAPS to place iPads with 9 students within the district who receive special education services for autism. Each device was loaded with a set of apps chosen to meet the specific needs of that child. Autism apps range from touch-screen visual schedules, to social skills practice, to full-scale communication aids.
 
iPads for Autism - Digi-MotoJame McCall, Executive Director of Special Education & Early Childhood Programs for TCAPS explains, "Our goal with using the iPads— or any other assistive technology— is to remove the barriers to education. To be able to put a device in the hands of a child that’s socially acceptable, and is something they are able to use and maneuver easily, that aids in communication, will help them in their learning."
 
Traverse Traveler approached TCAPS last fall about designing a fundraiser to help grow the iPads for Autism program at TCAPS. "I was thrilled that Brandy contacted me and told me about her plans to do a scavenger hunt and her thoughts about raising money for TCAPS students to put more iPads in the hands of our children that needed them. TCAPS is proud to be a partner with the Traverse Traveler."
 
iPads for Autism Digi-MotoBrandy Wheeler reached out to business owners, community members, educators and parents to bring this event to life. "Children with autism are magnetically drawn to technology," she said, " With this event we can combine the power of mobile and social media to create positive social change. It’s technology for technology."
 
All proceeds from the event will be donated to purchase iPads and apps for TCAPS students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome. In addition to monies raised by the event, Traverse Traveler will donate $10 for every new business listing on the app between now and April 30, 2012.
 

Here’s how you can help!

The Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism is currently seeking event sponsors and Downtown Traverse City businesses who would like to participate in this event. For more information and to register a team, visit the Traverse Traveler website at: http://TraverseTraveler.com/Autism. TCAPS is also accepting tax-deductible cash donations for the iPads for Autism program at http://www.tcaps.net/autism.

 

Become a fan of the event on Facebook, and follow @TraverseTravelr on Twitter to keep up with event news as it happens.

By |2012-02-15T09:02:53+00:00February 15th, 2012|Events, Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments

Traverse City Restaurant Week 2/26 – 3/3

Second Annual Restaurant Week Highlights Traverse City Dining
 
The Downtown Traverse City Association will host the second Traverse City Restaurant Week in response to the many accolades regarding great restaurants and food offerings in the Grand Traverse Region. TCRW promises to be the most delicious week of the winter where patrons may perfect the art of wining and dining by discovering the talents of local chefs, with many offerings focused on the farm to table movement and local agriculture.
 
Restaurant Weeks are quickly popping up in communities all over the country and have proved to be a success. The Traverse City region is a natural fit for our finest restaurants to offer multi-course meals that have been especially prepared for this gourmet event. Traverse City’s finest restaurants will offer multi-course meals that have been especially prepared for this gourmet event with three courses for $25 per person.
 

“Traverse City Restaurant Week offers seven days of dining in one of Michigan’s great food regions. Exploring news eateries and dining at your favorite are truly the highlights of this culinary event,” says Colleen Paveglio, DDA/DTCA Marketing Director.

 

Enter to Win!

During Traverse City Restaurant Week, diners may enter to win a prize package that includes $50 gift cards to each participating restaurant.
Visit the downtowntc.com website for further information on participating restaurants and menus.  

Reservations are recommended as this event proved quite popular last year. Check out the Events category on our smartphone app, Traverse Traveler,  where we’ve listed each restaurant along with a phone number for one-touch dialing. Following is a peek at who will be participating:

Traverse Traveler app events7 Monks Taproom

Amical

Apache Trout Grill

The Bay Leaf

Blue Tractor Cook Shop

The Boathouse

Chez Peres/Patisserie Amie

CW’s Blue Water Bistro: Holiday Inn West Bay

Firefly Café & Lounge

Hanna Bistro

Harrington’s By the Bay

Mackinaw Brewing Co.

Minervas: Park Place Hotel

Modes Bum Steer

North Peak Brewing Co.

Phil’s on Front

Poppycocks

Red Ginger

Relfect: Cambria Suites

The Soul Hole

Trattoria Stella

Travino, Traverse Wine & Grille

Union Cantina

 

Traverse City Restaurant Week is hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  For more information or to volunteer, call the DTCA office at (231) 922-2050 or email colleen@downtowntc.com  

By |2012-02-03T14:30:48+00:00February 3rd, 2012|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Winners Announced in Downtown TC Chili Cook-off

Mt. Holiday White Chili Takes the People’s Choice Award in today’s Downtown Traverse City Chili Cook-off.

 
The snow finally arrived in Northern Michigan and the temperature was perfect for a day spent noshing on chili at the 18th annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off presented by Pepsi Cola, C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., WTCM and ABC 29&8, held today at the Park Place Dome in Downtown Traverse City.

Thirteen area restaurants entered 17 different chilies in the annual Chili Cook-Off.  The eateries competed in seven different categories as well as the overall favorite, the “People’s Choice” award.  Categories included:  1-Alarm, 2-Alarm, 3-Alarm, Seafood, Vegetarian, Ethnic, No Bean and White.

 

Over 1,800 people attended the cook-off with each casting a vote for their favorites in each category at this favorite culinary event.  The DTCA managed to raise approximately $13,000 in 2011 to help fund Downtown community events such as Friday Night Live. Revenue totals will be calculated this week.  Winners included:
1-Alarm – Red Mesa Grill
2-Alarm –  Lil Bo Pub & Grille
3-Alarm – The Omelette Shoppe
Seafood – Scalawags Whitefish & Chips
Vegetarian – Oryana: Lake St. Cafe
White – Mt. Holiday
No Bean – Chateau Chantal Winery and B&B
Ethnic – Red Mesa Grill
People’s Choice – Mt. Holiday, White

 

Competing restaurants included:

  • 7 Monks Taproom
  • Chateau Chantal Winery and B&B
  • Lil Bo Pub & Grille
  • Minervas: Park Place Hotel
  • Morsel (providing cornbread morsels)
  • Mt. Holiday
  • Omelette Shoppe
  • Oryana: Lake St. Cafe
  • The Red Mesa Grill
  • Reflect: Cambria Suites
  • Scalawags Whitefish & Chips
  • Union Cantina
  • Wingers Sports Bar: Holiday Inn West Bay
  • Zakey Middle Eastern Cuisine
  •  

 
All proceeds from the event help support such Downtown community activities as Friday Night Live, the Halloween walk, holiday activities and many other free downtown events throughout the year.

By |2012-01-14T15:48:39+00:00January 14th, 2012|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Downtown Traverse City Holiday Events

Downtown Traverse City Christmas imageCelebrate the Spirit of the Season in Downtown Traverse City

There’s nothing like strolling the streets of Downtown, popping in and out of shops while snowflakes drift to the ground. With Thanksgiving behind us you know that Christmas shopping is next. Downtown Traverse City wants to make sure you enjoy the holidays, so they’re getting ready to kick-off the season with the Arrival of Santa on December 2nd, followed by special shopping nights for the Ladies and the ever popular Men’s Night.

A recent study conducted by Think Local First of Grand Rapids showed that $73 out of $100 spent locally stayed in the community, compared to $43 out of $100 spent in a business that was not locally owned.

Here’s all the details you’ll need to throughly enjoy a local shopping experience in Downtown Traverse City.

 

Santa’s Arrival, Tree Lighting & Holiday Open House
Friday, December 2nd
Downtown’s seasonal magic lights up on the first Friday in December with the excitement of Santa’s Arrival.  Spend the evening with Santa and shopping throughout the unique shops in Downtown Traverse City. At 5 pm, shoppers will be serenaded with holiday music and can gather at the community trees at the corner of Cass and E. Front St. Attendees can join in a community sing-a-long of their favorite holiday carols accompanied by the Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Choir.  The excitement continues with Santa’s arrival in bright red antique fire engine!  Santa will join the carols, receive the Key to the City from the Traverse City Mayor, Chris Bzdok and then light the tree at 6 pm, before spending the rest of the evening (6-8 p.m.) visiting with little ones at his holiday house at Cass and E. Front Street.  While Santa is in his house, Horse & Carriage Rides from Abraham Carriage Service will be available at an affordable price until 8 pm.
 
Bringing a little bit of the islands to the blustery winter in Downtown Traverse City, the Steel Drum Band "Uprizin" will be performing at the corner of Cass and E. Front from 6:15 – 9 pm. You won’t want to miss the amazing sounds that this troupe will bring to the north.

Ice on Display! Eight ice sculptures created by former World Champion and Traverse City resident Steven Berkshire will be on display throughout Front St. Park Place Hotel Chef, Marc Pritchard, will perform a live ice carving demonstration at the Jay Smith Walkway from 6 to 8 pm.

Live Reindeer will be located for little ones to enjoy in front of Red Ginger, while next door, the State Theatre will be offering FREE Holiday cartoons at 6:45 pm.
 
Share the spirit of the season with family and friends while merchants throughout the Downtown district host open houses and in-store specials.  Participating stores will have extended evening hours and offer store specials, free gift wrapping, food, refreshments and more!

 
Ladies’ Night
Thursday, December 8th
Downtown Traverse City will be hosting Ladies Night, Thursday, December 8th from 5 to 9 pm.   Visit participating stores for specials, refreshments, prize drawings, free gift wrapping and more! Caroling throughout the evening with the Sweet Adelines.

 
Men’s Night Downtown
Thursday, December 15th
Gentlemen, the evening is yours, finally!  Celebrate and shop with friends during Men’s Night Downtown on Thursday, December 15th.  The gents can enjoy hors d’oeuvres and specials at many restaurants and merchants will be offering in-store specials, gift wrapping and drawings. Caroling throughout the evening with the Sweet Adelines.
 

Downtown Holiday Lights
Downtown Traverse City shines during the holiday season due to Traverse City Light & Power.  A special thank you goes out to Traverse City Light & Power for making possible the purchase of over 133,000 new LED lights in 2008. Traverse City Light & Power begins installation of the lights in early November. The process of installing lights on over 300 trees in Downtown Traverse City takes about three weeks.

 
Shop Downtown and Win!
Spend $200 in Downtown Traverse City between December 1-10, 2011 and enter to win a $250 Downtown Shopping Spree. It’s easy to enter. Visit the Downtown Office no later than December 12, 2011, show your receipts totaling $200 in purchases between December 1-10, 2010 and enter to win. The drawing will take place on Tuesday, December 13, 2011.  And don’t forget to keep your dollars local this holiday shopping season, Downtown Gift Certificates Make the Perfect Gift!
 

 
Santa’s Hours
Santa will be visiting with little ones in his house at the corner of Cass and E. Front throughout the holiday season.
 
Friday: 12/2  6 – 8 pm
Fridays: 12/9, 12/16  5 – 8 pm
Saturdays: 12/3, 12/10, 12/17   11 am – 4 pm
Sundays: 12/4, 12/11, 12/18   1 – 4 pm
Extended hours:
            12/21 & 12/22: 3 – 7 pm
            12/23 & 12/24: Noon – 3 pm
          
 
Parking  – Free and Easy!
The price is right for downtown parking this holiday season. Parking is free at the Larry C. Hardy and Old Town Parking Decks after 5 pm, Monday through Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Downtown Holidays are hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  Please contact the Downtown Traverse City Association at 922-2050 or e-mail colleen@downtowntc.com for further information.
                      
www.downtowntc.com

By |2011-11-29T10:01:00+00:00November 29th, 2011|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Shop Your Community Day | Downtown TC Gives Back 15%

Shop Your Community Day is November 12, 2011
 
Downtown Traverse City will continue to give back to the community on Saturday, November 12, 2011 during Shop Your Community Day.  For every purchase made at the following stores, 15% of the sale will be donated to the participating organization of the customer’s choice!  It’s that easy to support your favorite non-profit, and get a jump start on holiday shopping.  In 2011, with the support of our community, Downtown Traverse City gave back a record setting $23,000 during this one-day promotion. The goal is to exceed the $25,000 mark this year.
 

Downtown Traverse City has always put charitable donations high on the priority list. Donations including goods, services and sponsorship of events benefit the local community all year long. When making local purchases, the business keeps three times more dollars in our community, supports and strengthens local jobs and preserves and enhances our unique neighborhoods, parks and public services here in Traverse City. Shopping local keep’s our community alive and has a profound economic impact on the Traverse City.

“We are blessed with a healthy Downtown here in Traverse City, but continued support of our local businesses is critical. A commitment to do so during this one-day event will also result in greatly benefiting the nonprofit organizations in our community. This truly is a win-win,” says Colleen Paveglio, DDA/DTCA Marketing Director.
 

Support your favorite organization and your local economy on Saturday, November 12, 2011 just by shopping Downtown.  Look for the shopping bags with balloons to signify participating stores. Following is a list of participating Downtown merchants and non-profit organizations.
 

 

Shop Your Community Day is sponsored by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  Please contact the Downtown Traverse City Association at 922-2050 or e-mail colleen@downtowntc.com for further information.

By |2011-10-14T10:42:13+00:00October 14th, 2011|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Traverse City Restaurant Week 2/27 – 3/5

First Annual Restaurant Week Highlights Traverse City Dining
 
The Downtown Traverse City Association will host the first Traverse City Restaurant Week in response to the many accolades regarding great restaurants and food offerings in the Grand Traverse Region. February 27 through March 5, 2011 promises to be the most delicious week of the winter where diners may perfect the art of dining by discovering new restaurants or enjoying their favorite at an affordable price.
 
Restaurant Weeks are quickly popping up in communities all over the country and have proved to be a success. The Traverse City region is a natural fit for our finest restaurants to offer multi-course meals that have been especially prepared for this gourmet event. Fifteen of Traverse City’s most reputable restaurants will offer special dinner menu choices of three courses for $25 per person.
 
“We are excited see Traverse City Restaurant Week grow and become not only a community favorite, but also a tourist attraction in an otherwise slow time of year.  This is a great way to go that restaurant that you have been dying to try or go to your favorite,” says Colleen Paveglio, DDA/DTCA Marketing Director.
 

Enter to Win!

During Traverse City Restaurant Week, diners may enter to win a prize package that includes $50 gift cards to each participating restaurant.
Visit the downtowntc.com website for further information on participating restaurants and menus.  Following is a peek at who will be participating:
 

  • Amical
  • Blue Tractor Cook Shop
  • The Boathouse
  • The Cook’s House
  • Hanna Bistro
  • Jolly Pumpkin
  • Lil Bo Pub & Grille
  • Minervas
  • Mission Table (Friday & Saturday Only)
  • Modes Bum Steer
  • North Peak Brewing Co.
  • Patisserie Amie/Chez Peres
  • Phil’s on Front
  • Red Ginger
  • Trattoria Stella 

 
 
The First Annual Traverse City Restaurant Week is hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  For more information or to volunteer, call the DTCA office at (231) 922-2050 or email colleen@downtowntc.com   

By |2011-01-31T18:51:28+00:00January 31st, 2011|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Chili Cook-Off Downtown Traverse City, Saturday 1-29

Restaurants compete for top chili awards

Warm up your taste buds this winter at the 17th Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off presented by Pepsi Cola, C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc, ABC 29&8 and WTCM on January 29th in Downtown Traverse City. Participants can sample the mild to the wild as the area’s top restaurants vie for awards in various categories. 

Northern Michigan’s ultimate chili challenge takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Park Place Dome in Downtown Traverse City. Additional seating will be provided in the lower of the Park Place Hotel and feature a cash bar. 

The Chili Cook-off attracted approximately 1,700 participants in 2010, who sampled the many chilies and voted for their favorites. Area restaurants will be cooking up their special recipes as they compete in eight different categories – 1, 2 and 3-alarm, white, vegetarian, no bean, seafood and ethnic as well as the coveted “people’s choice” award. The event will be featuring three organic chilies this year!

Chili lovers can choose a sampler of eight chilies for $8 or single bowls of their favorites for $4.  Pepsi products will also be available.  All proceeds from the event help support such Downtown community activities as Friday Night Live, Celebration for Young Children, the Downtown Art Walk, holiday activities and many other free downtown events throughout the year.  “The Downtown Chili Cook-Off continues to be a community favorite. What a great way to spend a cold snowy Saturday sampling chili by local chefs,” says Marketing Director, Colleen Paveglio. Following is a peek at who will be competing:

  • Cherry Republic
  • The Dish Café
  • Hanna Bistro
  • Lil Bo Pub & Grille
  • Minervas
  • Mt. Holiday
  • Omelette Shoppe
  • Oryana Lake Street Café
  • Prime Time Pub
  • Scalawags Whitefish & Chips
  • The Soul Hole
  • Union Cantina 

Morsels Bite Sized Bakery & Gourmet Coffee will be serving cornbread morsels to compliment the competing chilies.
 

The Annual Chili Cook-off is hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association. For more information or to volunteer, call the DTCA office at (231) 922-2050 or email colleen@downtowntc.com  

By |2011-01-27T09:18:01+00:00January 27th, 2011|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Downtown TC Holidays Kick-off on 12-3

Downtown Traverse City Christmas imageCelebrate the Spirit of the Season in Downtown Traverse City

There’s nothing like strolling the streets of Downtown, popping in and out of shops while snowflakes drift to the ground. With Thanksgiving around the corner you know that Christmas shopping is next. Downtown Traverse City wants to make sure you enjoy the holidays, so they’re getting ready to kick-off the season with the Arrival of Santa on December 3rd, followed by special shopping nights for the Ladies and the ever popular Men’s Night. If you’re coming in from out-of-town consider a Shop-n-Stay package at local hotels including a $50 Downtown gift card! Here’s all the details you’ll need to throughly enjoy a local shopping experience in Downtown Traverse City.

 

Santa’s Arrival, Tree Lighting & Holiday Open House
Friday, December 3
Downtown’s seasonal magic lights up on the first Friday in December with the excitement of Santa’s Arrival.  Spend the evening with Santa and shopping throughout the unique shops in Downtown Traverse City. At 5 pm, shoppers will be serenaded with holiday music and can gather at the community trees at the corner of Cass and E. Front St. Attendees can join in a community sing-a-long of their favorite holiday carols accompanied by the Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Choir.  The excitement continues with Santa’s arrival in bright red antique fire engine!  Santa will join the carols, receive the Key to the City from the Traverse City Mayor, Chris Bzdok and then light the tree at 6 pm, before spending the rest of the evening (6-8 p.m.) visiting with little ones at his holiday house at Cass and E. Front Street.  While Santa is in his house, Horse & Carriage Rides from Abraham Carriage Service will be available at an affordable price until 8 pm.
 
Bringing a little bit of the islands to the blustery winter in Downtown Traverse City, the 21st Century Steel Band will be performing at the corner of Cass and E. Front from 6:15 – 9 pm. You won’t want to miss the amazing sounds that this troupe will bring to the north.
 
Share the spirit of the season with family and friends while merchants throughout the Downtown district host open houses and in-store specials.  Participating stores will have extended evening hours and offer store specials, free gift wrapping, food, refreshments and more!

 
Ladies’ Night
Thursday, December 9
Downtown Traverse City will be hosting Ladies Night, Thursday, December 9 from 5 to 9 pm.   Visit participating stores for specials, refreshments, prize drawings, free gift wrapping and more! Caroling throughout the evening with the Sweet Adelines.

 
Men’s Night Downtown
Thursday, December 16
Gentlemen, the evening is yours, finally!  Celebrate and shop with friends during Men’s Night Downtown on Thursday, December 16.  The gents can enjoy hors d’oeuvres and specials at many restaurants and merchants will be offering in-store specials, gift wrapping and drawings. Caroling throughout the evening with the Sweet Adelines.
 

Downtown Holiday Lights
Downtown Traverse City shines during the holiday season due to Traverse City Light & Power.  A special thank you goes out to Traverse City Light & Power for making possible the purchase of over 133,000 new LED lights in 2008. Traverse City Light & Power begins installation of the lights in early November. The process of installing lights on over 300 trees in Downtown Traverse City takes about three weeks.

 
Shop Downtown and Win!
Spend $200 in Downtown Traverse City between December 1-10, 2010 and enter to win a $250 Downtown Shopping Spree. It’s easy to enter. Visit the Downtown Office no later than December 13, 2010, show your receipts totaling $200 in purchases between December 1-10, 2010 and enter to win. The drawing will take place on Tuesday, December 14, 2010.  And don’t forget to keep your dollars local this holiday shopping season, Downtown Gift Certificates Make the Perfect Gift!
 

Holiday Hotel Packages-Stay in TC and Shop Downtown
Make reservations at one of the following hotels for December 3 & 4, 2010 and you will receive a $50 Downtown Gift Certificate at check-in for your holiday shopping needs during the annual Santa’s Arrival and Holiday Open House.
 
December 3 & 4
$50 Gift Certificate at Check-In
Holiday Inn West Bay: $220
Park Place Hotel: $240
Tamarack Lodge: $451

 
Santa’s Hours
Santa will be visiting with little ones in his house at the corner of Cass and E. Front throughout the holiday season.
 
Friday: 12/3  6 – 8 pm
Fridays: 12/10, 12/17  5 – 8 pm
Saturdays: 12/4, 12/11, 12/18   11 am – 4 pm
Sundays: 12/5, 12/12, 12/19   1 – 4 pm
Extended hours:
            12/22: 3 – 7 pm
            12/23: Noon – 3 pm
            12/24: Noon – 3 pm
          
A big thank you goes out to the Traverse City Elks Club Volunteer Committee for providing renovations to Santa’s House for the 2010 season. Improvements included, new paint, carpet doors and repairs to the roof and siding. The committee donated all of their time, expertise, supplies and equipment.
 
Parking  – Free and Easy!
The price is right for downtown parking this holiday season. Parking is free at the Larry C. Hardy and Old Town Parking Decks after 5 pm, Monday through Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Downtown Holidays are hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  Please contact the Downtown Traverse City Association at 922-2050 or e-mail colleen@downtowntc.com for further information.
                      
www.downtowntc.com

By |2010-11-23T11:19:22+00:00November 23rd, 2010|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Shop Your Community Day 11-13

Downtown Traverse City Merchants Give Back 15%

 
Downtown Traverse City will continue to give back to the community on Saturday, November 13, 2010 during Shop Your Community Day. For every purchase made at participating stores, 15% of the sale will be donated to the registered organization of the customer’s choice! It’s that easy to support your favorite non-profit, and get a jump start on holiday shopping. 
 
Downtown Traverse City has always put charitable donations high on the priority list. Donations including goods, services and sponsorship of events benefit the local community all year long.  According to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies website, “A modest change in consumer behavior – a mere 10 percent shift in market share to independent businesses from chain stores – would result in 1,600 new jobs, $53 million in wages, and a $137 million economic impact to the area.” When making local purchases, the business keeps three times more dollars in our community, supports and strengthens local jobs and preserves and enhances our unique neighborhoods, parks and public services here in Traverse City. The “The health of our economy is based upon the support of local shops and businesses. Imagine if everyone chose to shop local for the holiday season, a truly tremendous impact would be made, “ says Brian Kluzak, DTCA President.
 
Support your favorite organization and your local economy on Saturday, November 13, 2010 just by shopping Downtown.  Look for the shopping bags with balloons to signify participating stores. Following is a list of participating Downtown merchants and non-profit organizations.
 
Shop Your Community Day is sponsored by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  Please contact the Downtown Traverse City Association at 922-2050 or e-mail colleen@downtowntc.com for further information.

By |2010-11-10T10:53:27+00:00November 10th, 2010|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Downtown TC Artwalk Friday 9/17

traverse city community muralDowntown Stores Open their Doors to Regional Artists

The Downtown Traverse City Association will host the fall Downtown Art Walk, sponsored by ABC 29&8 and WTCM on Friday, September 17, from 5 – 9 pm. The Downtown Art Walk is local favorite and will showcase 18 art exhibits along Front St. The public is invited to enjoy an evening of art, refreshments, food and music. Artists from the Traverse City region and beyond will feature their works. Visit participating locations and check out the truly amazing art from drawings and paintings to the rare art form of Polaroid transfers. The Downtown Art Walk offers a little something for everyone’s liking.
 
The DTCA will collaborate with the Traverse City ArtCenter on a public art project throughout the evening. Attendees may contribute by painting small tiles that will eventually create a large mosaic to display on the side of Ace Hardware on W. Front St. (image shown here).

 

Don Strzynski painting imageBe sure to stop by Gallery Fifty along the Boardman river to see artist Don Strzynski’s abstract muted northern Michigan landscapes in oil on canvas.
 
Refreshments will be offered at various locations throughout the evening.  Purchase a commemorative wine glass and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Downtown Public Art projects. Participating galleries will also be offering prize drawings throughout the evening.  Walking maps will be available at each participating gallery and the Downtown Traverse City office.

 

Strzynski image provided by Gallery Fifty.

By |2010-09-17T06:12:15+00:00September 17th, 2010|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Old Town Deck Ends Free Parking

Parkers in the new Old Town Parking Deck will have to pay to use that facility beginning Wednesday, August 25, 2010.  The City of Traverse City, who owns the parking structure, and the Traverse City DDA, the operator, were pleased to open the parking deck early in time for the Traverse City Film Festival.  The parking deck was opened prior to installation and activation of all of the pay and parking control systems. Parkers visiting Downtown Traverse City have had the opportunity to use the deck at no charge up to this point.

The 522-space parking structure includes 97 metered spaces on the ground level where parkers prepay at one of two meter pay stations.  The rate is $0.60 per hour for up to four hours.  Both hourly and permit parkers can use the other three levels.  Hourly parkers pull a ticket upon entering and can pay when leaving using either a credit card or cash.  A $0.50 hourly rate applies on the upper levels.  Just like with the on-street meters, hourly rates are in effect from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  There is no charge for use at other times.

Open 24 hours, the first level is accessible from the alley that runs between Lake Street and East Eighth Street behind the AT&T store and Brady’s Bar.  The upper levels are accessible off of East Eighth Street. 

The parking structure includes eighteen state of the art car-charging stations for smart cars and bike parking in the form of bike lockers and covered bike racks on the first floor.  Bike lockers may be rented on an hourly or extended period of time through the Auto Parking Services office, located in the Hardy Parking Deck.

Bryan Crough, Executive Director of the DDA, said; “We were pleased to open the parking deck early to help accommodate Traverse City Film Festival patrons.  We will have staff at the Old Town Deck on the 25th and 26th to help parkers get used to the two different pay systems.”  The pay stations on the first level are the first in Traverse City and allow for more efficient management and enforcement.
 

About the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority

The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a public agency responsible for economic development in Downtown Traverse City.  The DDA runs the City of Traverse City’s parking system, including the Old Town Deck.

www.downtowntc.com

 

By |2010-08-23T08:43:53+00:00August 23rd, 2010|Traverse City|0 Comments

Olde Town Parking Deck Opens Early

Downtown Traverse City mealtickets card imageDowntown Traverse City Opens the Olde Town Parking Deck in Time for Film Festival

 

The City broke ground for the Old Town Deck on October 20, 2009 and planned on it being substantially completed in mid September. They are happy to report that the Old Town Parking Deck will now open just in time for a busy August in Downtown Traverse City. The contractor, Colasanti Construction has come close to completion, approximately seven weeks ahead of schedule, and due to some extraordinary efforts, the first floor is set to open for the 6th Annual Traverse City Film Festival.

“We are pleased to at least have the first floor open for the Traverse City Film Festival. With the Old Town Playhouse and Lars Hockstad Auditorium in close proximity, the Old Town Deck will help take some parking pressure off neighborhood streets," says Rob Bacigalupi, DDA Deputy Director.

CWS Architects are the local Architect and LEED consultant for the project and are pursuing Gold LEED certification. The four level parking deck features a solar panel array on the roof, which will provide all electricity needs for the facility on sunny days. Green roofs are located on the two stair towers and will reduce the volume of storm water entering the sewer system. “We expect that the Old Town Deck will be 40% more energy efficient than a conventional parking deck and are proud of the work that has taken place in the Old Town District,” says Ray Kendra, CWS Architects. The Old Town Deck will also include five car-charging stations and will be able to accommodate up to 20 electrical cars at once. These stations are state-of-the-art and can provide a full charge in two hours.

Planning for the Old Town Deck included parking options for the bike enthusiast. The northwest corner of the building will include eight bike storage lockers and five bikeracks will be located near the southeast corner. Long term or short term rental for the storage lockers are available and will be handled through the Parking Services Department located in the Hardy Parking Deck.

 

Full occupancy is expected by early August on the 522 space parking deck. Transient (hourly) parking will be provided on all levels. Vehicular entrances can be accessed from Lake and Eight Streets.

For more information, please call the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority at (231) 922-2050 or visit the Downtown website at www.downtowntc.com.
 

By |2010-07-26T09:24:41+00:00July 26th, 2010|Check This Out, Traverse City|0 Comments

Downtown TC Art Walk 5-7

Amy Kerr Hardin imageGet Your Art Fix at the Traverse City Art Walk

 

The Downtown Traverse City Association will host the spring Downtown Art Walk, sponsored by ABC 29&8 and WTCM on Friday, May 7, from 5 – 9 pm. The public is invited to enjoy an evening of art, refreshments, food and music. Artists from the Traverse City region and beyond will feature their works at exhibits throughout Downtown Traverse City. Visit participating locations and check out the amazing art scene from oil paintings and photography to glass bead making and fine wood furniture along Front St., Cass and the Warehouse District. New participant this year includes the artist co-op, Artisan Design Network where approximately 30 local artists have their work on display.
 
The DTCA will again offer an opportunity to create public art at the Downtown Art Walk. The public art project will be hosted by the Traverse City ArtCenter and feature small tiles to be painted by the public. The tiles will then create a large mural that will be installed on the side of Ace Hardware on W. Front St.
 
Refreshments will be offered at various locations throughout the evening.  Purchase a commemorative wine glass and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Downtown Public Art projects. Participating galleries will also be offering prize drawings throughout the evening.  Walking maps will be available at each participating gallery and the Downtown Traverse City office.  For more information call 231.922.2050 or visit www.downtowntc.com.

 

Artwork shown here is "Franklinia" by Amy Kerr Hardin. You can find her work on display during the Art Walk at Gallery Fifty in Downtown Traverse City.