In the past five years, Downtown Pittsburg has seen a revitalization: Businesses and restaurants have opened, special events have taken root, and beautification efforts have bloomed.
Now, one of the largest entities in the downtown area, historic Memorial Auditorium at 503 N. Pine, is planning a unique, first-ever event in order to showcase itself and Downtown Pittsburg as a destination for everything a bride and groom could dream of leading up to their wedding.
The area’s first Downtown Bridal Crawl will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, in the auditorium, where brides, grooms, bridal parties, parents and friends from across the Four States are invited to pick up a passport for the Bridal Crawl and see a faux wedding set-up on stage, which has become a popular wedding venue in recent years.
Then, they’re invited to hit the road to visit each of the participating merchants before winding up back at Memorial for a look at a faux wedding reception set up in the lower level and a major prize drawing.
“We have everything a bridal party could hope for right here,” said Memorial Auditorium’s General Manager Jeff Wilbert. “Europe Park, for example, is one of the most beautiful places in the area to have your engagement portrait taken. We have several establishments within walking distance that are perfect for bachelorette or bachelor parties. There are boutiques and salons that brides could go to for a spa treatment. And of course we have great formal wear merchants. The list goes on and on.”
“We also have a first-class facility to have a wedding reception in, with all the bells and whistles available including mood lighting, china and silverware, table linens, and event staff,” Wilbert said. “In fact, we’ve even held weddings on stage at Memorial, and they turned out quite beautiful.”
Wilbert said the idea behind the Bridal Crawl was to move away from the standard bridal fair of years’ past for the sake of the merchants and the brides. Doing it on a Friday evening will add an element of fun and sophistication to the event, he said.
“Merchants have to haul all of their things to one spot and sit for the day, missing out on potential sales in their shops, and this is designed to bring customers right to their door and let the customers really get a sense of all that they offer,” Wilbert said.
For example, participating merchants like Sweet Designs Cakery and Little Shop of Flowers will have tastes and samples of wedding cakes and bridal bouquets available, and merchants such as Malibu Tanning Salon will have special deals going that night only to those who have passports.
Brides and their entourages then will be invited to return to Memorial between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. for drinks, snacks, and a look at a faux wedding reception.
Concluding the event at 9:30, Wilbert will conduct a prize drawing for a free wedding reception donated by Memorial Auditorium and other prizes donated by participating merchants.
Organizers are promoting the event in surrounding towns and hope to draw from a 30-mile radius. Wilbert said registration for merchants who wish to participate will be open until Aug. 26; they should email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-230-5536.
Participating merchants will be promoted in the coming weeks through social media channels, the event website, in advertising, and will be included on the event passports.
“We hope merchants really take a minute to see the potential this kind of event has and to be creative at thinking outside the box a bit,” Wilbert said. “For example, we have a photographer interested in participating who doesn’t have a storefront, and we’re working on the possibility of setting her up that night in a downtown boutique, which would be a win-win for both of them and the brides.”