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Green Breeze, Day On The Town to take over Birmingham

Events expected to draw 10,000 July 23

By: Erin McClary | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 13, 2011

 Siouxsan Miller talks about Green Daffodil Soy Candleworks products at The Community House’s 2010 Green Breeze event.

Siouxsan Miller talks about Green Daffodil Soy Candleworks products at The Community House’s 2010 Green Breeze event.

File photo by Andrew Potter

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BIRMINGHAM — July 23 should be a pretty busy day for downtown Birmingham.

For the second year in a row, The Community House’s Green Breeze eco-friendly vendor expo will jump on the coattails of the Principal Shopping District’s Day On The Town sales event, bringing both green education and bargain shopping to the streets of downtown.

Green Breeze is expected to feature 100 earth-friendly vendors exhibiting everything from green cleaning and hygiene products to energy-saving home improvement solutions. The expo will be set up on Old Woodward, between Maple and Brown, as well as on Merrill, between Old Woodward and Pierce.

Day On The Town is Birmingham’s biggest shopping day of the year. Its blueprint is simple: Merchants drop their prices and bring their products out onto the sidewalks. It will be centered around the Maple and Old Woodward vicinity.

The Community House recently bid farewell to its director of 13 years, Shelly Roberts, who retired this year, and welcomed Debbie Schrot, who’s been with The Community House for 16 years, as its new executive director. This is the nonprofit’s third annual Green Breeze expo.

Schrot, who previously worked closely with Roberts on events like the Green Breeze, said that together with Day On The Town, the events could draw as many as 10,000 people to downtown Birmingham.

Vendors alone, she said, have grown from 80 last year to 100 this year for the expo.

“Our mission is to provide educational, social and cultural opportunities to our residents … and Green Breeze is designed to educate them on the latest energy, technology and green initiatives,” she said. “Thanks to our sponsors … we’re able to offer this event free to the public.”

While the primary goal of Green Breeze is to educate the community, any proceeds that come from the event will help underwrite enrichment and outreach programs at The Community House, so it seconds as a fundraiser, Schrot explained.

“We have a nice collaboration with the city, which we try to do in everything that we do here,” she said.

Schrot said she’s excited to be able to work more closely with the nonprofit’s enrichment programs, as well as take on new responsibilities as director of The Community House — all while remaining in the comfort zone she’s come to know over the past several years.

Both Green Breeze and Day On The Town take place July 23 — Green Breeze will run 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Day On The Town will run 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Both feature activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Old Woodward will be closed to traffic from Willits to Brown, and Maple will be closed from Bates to Peabody. Parking in all of the city’s parking structures and at meters will be free throughout the day.

At Green Breeze, sponsor Whole Foods Market will be offering a free flower-seedling-planting project with a compostable container that can be planted in home gardens.

To kick off Day On The Town, kids are encouraged to meet at Birmingham City Hall, 151 Martin, at 8:30 a.m. to decorate their bikes for the fifth annual Children’s Bike Parade. Kids can win prizes for most creative, most patriotic, most fashionable and wackiest bike decorations. Following the decorations, the parade — led by the Birmingham Police Department — will commence on its route.

New this year will be live entertainment at four stages set up around Day On The Town. Local schools and the Teen Band Jam, as well as such bands as Motor City Brass Band, Company of Strangers, the Just Friends Barbershop Quartet and many others will provide the entertainment.

WWJ Newsradio 950 will broadcast live from the event, conducting special drawings and other promotions for shoppers.

Kids can look forward to clowns, magicians and other “wandering entertainment” throughout Day On The Town. A Kidz Zone at Maple and North Old Woodward, where an arts and crafts station and a face painter will be set up, will run 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Even car enthusiasts can now anticipate some action. New to Day On The Town is a preview of the Birmingham Cruise Event, featuring more than 40 classic rides, from Rolls-Royces to Corvettes. The cruise will take place noon-6 p.m. on North Old Woodward.

“Many stores report to us that Day On The Town is their single biggest day in terms of sales in the entire year,” said PSD Executive Director John Heiney. “The economy changed the event for a few years, because there were fewer merchants in town to participate. However, we have over 15 new stores since last year, so things are coming back strong.”

Day On The Town has been around since 2002 as a 12-hour, all-day sales event. Prior to that, the PSD held an annual Night On The Town, which some referred to as Midnight Madness — a six-hour evening event on a Friday.

“That event went on for 20-plus years,” said Heiney. “We changed it because people wanted a longer sales day that was more family friendly, not just geared to young people and couples out on a Friday night. Many reported that their sales increased greatly for the longer day as opposed to the evening event.”

“Birmingham is the place to be on July 23. Day On The Town is a highly anticipated event that’s packed full with activities throughout the entire day,” he said. “Everyone appreciates a good deal. This event offers 12 hours of the best bargains around.”

For more information on Green Breeze, call The Community House at (248) 644-5832 or visit www.communityhouse.com. For more information on Day On The Town, call (248) 530-1200 or visit www.enjoybirmingham.com.

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