Midtown event encourages shoppers to visit the district 

click to enlarge Midtown Plaza Court in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Midtown Plaza Court in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 16, 2015.

Midtown’s rapid expansion in the past five years has transformed a sparsely inhabited shell of a district into a powerful magnet for businesses and new residents. Midtown Walkabout, a daytime festival  noon-7 p.m. April 22 throughout the district located between Shartel and Broadway avenues and 13th and Seventh streets, is an opportunity for businesses to interact with the community and celebrate the area’s success.

“We realized as business owners that there’s so many people who live in Midtown and who might not know that some of our businesses exist,” said Rachael Gruntmeir, owner of The Black Scintilla, 1112 N. Walker Ave., Suite 104. “So, our goal isn’t to reach far out, but to reach the people who are currently in our neighborhood and let them know about the businesses that are right around the corner from them. So, whether that’s services, retail or restaurants, we just encourage families, singles or couples on a date ... to get out and walk around. It’s kind of like an old-school block party.”

The event features music from Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) students, who will busk throughout the event. Gruntmeir said this was an opportunity to showcase emerging local talent while keeping everyone circulating through the district.

At The Black Scintilla, each customer will receive free popcorn, and most stores will offer other enticements — cupcakes, cookies, and yoga sessions to work off the free sweets — throughout the day.

“As soon as our doors open, we offer fun incentives, discounts or giveaways, whether it’s popcorn, balloon animals or face-painting, and some restaurants will have bar specials,” Gruntmeir said. “There’s something for everyone.”

Walkabout guests can enter for a chance to win a free month of unlimited classes at 405 Yoga OKC, 1004 N. Hudson Ave.; enjoy coupon giveaways for makeup services and blowouts at Brushed Salon & Makeup Studio, 1212 N. Walker Ave., Suite 101; buy three traditional cookies for $3 at Insomnia Cookies, 1131 N. Walker Ave.; receive a free pair of earrings from mode., 1227 N. Walker Ave.; eat mini cupcakes at Nhu Avenue, 1111 N. Walker Ave.; and find the MVP Photo Booth and print free photos.

Midtown redevelopment projects continue to be announced. In March, David Wanzer, Jonathan Dodson and Ben Sellers of Pivot Project announced plans to renovate the former Uptown Theater at 1212 N. Hudson Ave. It will include office space and space on the south end for Elk Valley Brewing Co. In addition, The Union at Sosa opened March 24 at 616 NW Fifth St., converting an old union hall into a bar and restaurant complex.

Because of the speed of development in the area and the success of Midtown Walkabout, Gruntmeir said merchants decided to make the event a twice-yearly affair.

“The first one was so successful and so many people turned out for it that it really kind of blew us away,” she said. “Midtown’s growing, with more and more people and businesses moving here, so it’s great to do it every six months. That way, there’s something new every time we do it.”

Print headline: Block party, Midtown Walkabout celebrates revitalization with music, sales and giveaways.

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