Promenade rings in the holidays

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 8, 2001

Staff Reports

Patriotism and holiday spirit will come together Nov. 18 as merchants, artists and shoppers celebrate Promenade Troy America.

The event, which includes the traditional holiday open house for participating merchants, expands this year to draw visual and performing artists to the downtown area for the afternoon in what organizers expect to be a community-building experience.

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"We need to pull together, to shop together to play together," said Mary Ann Casey, an artist and volunteer with the organizing committee. "It’ so important … for all the country."

More than two dozen visual and performing artists are taking part in the event. Painters, sculptors and other visual artists will show their works at various locations around the square and in the shops of participating merchants. Performance artists will be scheduled throughout the afternoon. "I don’t think we’ve ever had an event quite like this where we showcase local artists’ works on such a large scale," said Scheer Qualls, owner of Douglas Brothers Jewelry Store who co-chairs the organizing committee with Troy State University professor Ed Noriega.

The idea to blend arts and entertainment came from a desire to introduce more people to the downtown Troy area, Qualls said. "Some people might come out for the artists or the entertainment, while they wouldn’t come just for shopping," he said.

Nearly 20 businesses are planning to participate. The artists include painters, potters, sculptors and musicians, some of whom will perform inside businesses, others on the square.

The afternoon will begin at 1 p.m., with the unfurling of the Liberty Banner, a 1,000-foot salute to the men and women who serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces. The banner contains more than 20,000 signatures. "It’s a project of the Liberty Riders, a group formed by Pike County fifth-grader Liane Knotts," said Jennifer Barner of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. The Promenade Troy America committee works under the umbrella of the Chamber’s Downtown Revitalization Committee.

After the banner is unfurled, Goshen resident Will Thompson will perform his stirring tribute, "We Are America." "It’s a beautiful song," Barner said.

Performance highlights will be the Troy State University Gospel Choir, scheduled to perform at 2 p.m., and the Troy Arts Council’s performance of

"Messiah" which begins at 4 p.m. at the First Methodist Church.. Other performers include the Children’s Choir, Dan Fraley and Richard Schloemer, among others.

A jazz café, complete with coffee and desserts for sale, will be hosted in the lobby of Regions Bank on the square, and children’s activities are also being planned for that afternoon.

And, of course, shopping will abound. The open house is traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season in Troy and Pike County, and Douglas said participating merchants will again be offering sales and discounts to local shoppers. "We want the people to come to downtown," he said.