WLAA Preview: Bloom Fest a fun way for downtown businesses to roll out the welcome mat

The Main Street Area Association (MSAA) is taking a new tact this year to encourage visitors to enjoy the opening of flip-flop season downtown with its first annual Bloom Fest on Saturday,  May 11, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

“When you think of downtown Ann Arbor you think Spring and Summer and walking downtown with the patios setup and there’s music and there’s just so much activity going on,” says MSAA’s Executive Director Sandra Andrade. “So we sat down with the retailers and came up with this idea together.”

The annual downtown Ladies Night is being expanded to celebrate the season where all are welcome.

“Ladies night is an event we’ve been doing in the past, and this is an event in lieu of Ladies Night. The feeling is that Ann Arbor is a unique place and we want to be different and we are different,” said Andrade. “The thought was to have more of an inclusive event than ladies night that was for everybody to celebrate Spring.”

The idea to put on Bloom Fest blossomed with inspiration among participating shops and restaurants as well.

“It’s cool. All the retailers are doing different things. They came up with their own activities. For example, Fjällräven is doing wilderness workshops, and Abracadabra and Roeda Studio are doing flower making workshops with tissue paper. Bløm Meadworks on Fourth is having their one year anniversary and they’ll be having live music and art workshops,” Andrade said.

“So many restaurants are engaged in this, too I think because of the theme. Last year we had eight restaurants participating and this year we have 16. They’re excited to be celebrating their patios. They’re doing fun drinks: Sangria, Mimosas. . .  Palio’s is doing a bunch of different bruschettas for $5, so people are just more engaged in this.”

For entertainment the association hired sidewalk performers

“The Huron Valley Harmonizers are an A Capella group who will be walking around the area and they’re fantastic,” Andrade says. “We’ll have musicians outside of Vault of Midnight playing on the sidewalk from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. To kick it off is an awesome surfer band, The Vicissitones. And Samantha West is amazing. And we’ll have musicians in front of Roada studio as well. So there’s pop-up music around town throughout the day.”

A lot of hard work and planning has gone into making Bloom Fest a fun way for downtown area businesses to roll out the welcome mat to those who love Ann Arbor.

“Downtown is just the place to be in Spring and Summer and it’s a celebration of that,” Andrade said.

For more information and schedule of events