By Pam Fitzpatrick
I had a truly fun conversation with a mischievous fellow merchant from my past life in Old Town – back in the days when we were still arguing about our identity. Should we call ourselves “Old Town” or stick to the well-established “Downtown” identity? Actually, the reason we were having that discussion at all was because we had no identity in those days. My mischievous friend, who is now back in town, was reminding me this morning about how we got press in those days…
Before cell phones, before the internet, in the black and white days, we had to rely on print – posters, flyers, print advertising, and window signs. While all of the hold-in-your-hand and post-in-your-windows print stuff is still hugely important to us, we had absolutely no online presence and no social media. How do you needle your neighbor while getting attention without FB and Twitter? Well, in the early 90s, as my friend was recalling, we had a couple of merchants we fondly called “Frick & Frack” who spent a good part of their days playing jokes on other business owners. Frick & Frack’s favorite torture was to brown paper the windows of a nearby empty building and write “Coming Soon” announcing a completely fictional competitor’s pending arrival in town. Some of these escapades resulted in great publicity, which, in the end, was (almost) all they ever wanted anyway.
I, personally, try to behave like an adult these days, but I do love a good “gotcha”!
As we were talking this morning, my friend suggested a fun idea for a legit Old Town promotion. I think if we get enough buy-in from our local shops, we can do this every couple of months or so, and vary the contact business — but I get to start first. Here’s the deal: it appears that our very efficient city workers have left one single round holiday ornament in one of the trees in Old Town. It’s purple. Find it and come in to my shop (The Dollmakers’ Kattywompus) and be the first one to tell me where it is. There’s a prize waiting for you! Surely within the next couple of months we can find another unplanted anomaly in Downtown (aka Old Town)!
There are lots of events coming up this month and through the summer! This Thursday, April 6, the County will be sponsoring a Community Health Fair at Library Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Free Health Screens, Community Resources and Family Fun. Then, on Saturday, April 15, the Easter Bunny will be at Library Park so you, your kiddies and family pets can have a photo op. The MAP (Monrovia Area Partnership) Neighborhood Conference returns on Saturday, April 22, this time at the Community Center at 119 W. Palm Ave., from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will include workshops, entertainment, breakfast and lunch and a Native Plant Sale.
Maybe starting in May – not totally sure yet – the Monrovia Street Fair looks like it will move up to the 300 block of S. Myrtle and include Library Park. It will be interesting to see if this move will actually improve the Fair, or be its demise. It has been said that our street fair is unique, both because it combines a Farmer’s Market and Vendor Booths, and because it is “on the street,” not in a parking lot or a park. Do folks come to the Fair for the Fair’s sake, or for the Old Town experience? For some of us shop owners and fair vendors, this proposed change would be wonderful, if it works. The problem is, not all of the shop and restaurant owners in Old Town feel the same way. Let’s see how the public feels – after all, you are the reason we exist!