Olympia downtown board deliberates funding of local business events

Lamplighters’ holiday event got the green light


Olympia’s Parking & Business Improvement Area Board (PBIA) discussed financial subsidies to business programs during its October 5 regular session.

Board Chair Melissa Hammond raised one agenda: the Holiday Market proposal by local art non-profit Olympia Lamplighters.

“Olympia Lamplighters would do a couple of various art markets, makers’ markets, or makers’ bazaars in potentially a couple of different locations. That way, we can have multiple different local artists and makers that can sell their wares for the holidays and bring people downtown,” Lamplighters co-founder Avalon Kragness told the PBIA board.

Kragness added that some of their other ideas revolved around talking with downtown businesses and trying to bring all of them together and cross-promote all these businesses.

“One of the things that I was planning on doing if this gets approved is to go down and talk to all the different business owners to see what kind of sales they're having, what kind of promotions they're having for the holidays, and try to do some mass marketing for all of the businesses in downtown,” Kragness explained.

Oliver Stormshak, a board member, suggested to Kragness a format similar to European-style markets as a different approach this year, a design geared to avoid the traffic being funneled to a single destination point.

“I was thinking about a European-style outdoor Christmas market, and I imagine that to be located close throughout downtown Olympia at different times of the day. There's going to be some businesses that have traffic in the evening times, and there's going to be other businesses that are a little bit more daytime-focused,” Stormshak said.

The board unanimously approved allocating a $6,000 subsidy for the proposed Olympia Lamplighters’ European-style outdoor market.

Too late for one businesses request

The board also deliberated the sponsorship request from Harlequin productions for its annual fundraising gala. Harlequin held its fundraiser September 24, two weeks after the Olympia committee discussed it.

“It was great, said Board member Alden Davis, “It seems like a really successful way to have [an] outdoor event that was still attractive and fancy enough for them to have the fundraising opportunities that they were doing.”

Board member Anne Gavzer suggested that the money be allocated to other organizations, since Harlequin’s event had already happened.

“If they did very well at their event,” Gavzer commenter, “perhaps that thousand bucks can go to somebody who might really need it.”

The board did not approve Harlequin’s request.


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