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Ardmore is putting out the welcome mat this month in a big way.

A new community event, the Ardmore Open House, will kick off a busy fall season of events in the historic downtown, showcasing the many shops, restaurants and services all around town.

There will be strolling musicians and jugglers, family and children’s activities, food tastings, demonstrations, sidewalk sales and in store specials. The best part of the day, though, said Lisa Burns, president of the Ardmore Business Association, is that each business will be hosting a different event or activity highlighting what makes it a unique part of the community.

The business association is producing the event, whose presenting sponsor is Armen Chevrolet. Open Championship’s return to the Merion Golf Club.

Some of the feedback businesses had given on recent events, Burns said, however, was that, while they were successful in bringing people into the business district, more could be done to “get people into the businesses” themselves.

“When we do these events in a central location, it doesn’t always translate into traffic into the stores,” explained Ardmore Initiative’s executive director, Christine Vilardo. “We wanted to do a non central event.”

With the idea of a town wide open house, the organizations wanted to get the business owners involved. They asked each to brainstorm their own individual events and attractions.

“The businesses are really responding,” Burns said. “We gave them a couple of suggestions, but they have really taken that and run with it.”

As the date of the open house approaches, nearly three dozen businesses have announced plans to participate, and the interest continues to build. “Every day I get two or three more businesses signing up,” Burns said. “I’m so excited to see what they’ve come up with.”

It’s an opportunity for those who are already familiar with Ardmore to visit their favorite businesses and get to know them better. For others, it’s a chance to discover all that Ardmore has to offer. “It’s a welcoming day,” Vilardo said.

Speaking for the business association, Burns said the Ardmore Open House “serves our mission more than any other event letting the businesses shine and do what they do best.”

Businesses along Lancaster Avenue and the side streets of Ardmore and Cricket avenues and Rittenhouse Place are participating , along with several stores at the Ardmore West shopping center, so it’s a perfect opportunity to stroll the downtown. Be sure to pick up a copy of Ardmore Initiative’s walking tour of the historic business district. To make it even easier for shoppers and business patrons to stop by, parking throughout the business district will be free for the event.

In the category of beauty and fashion, Sabrina Ann bridal consignment will be offering free makeovers and Rae Co. will hold a jewelry sidewalk sale. Giannini Jewelers will offer free jewelry cleaning. The Junior League Thrift Shop promises special sales, including Halloween items. The Tasting Room will be the site for an artist’s trunk show. There will be cake and crafts to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mud Room pottery studio,. A DJ will be on hand at Mapes 5 10, where there will also be free popcorn and hotdogs.

As for food, Melodies Caf will host a coffee tasting and sampling of snacks. Jules Thin Crust will be sampling its pizza.

Among other features: Pet Valu will host PALS rescue with kittens for adoption, a dog trainer available for “ask the expert” help and free pet nail clippings by a visiting veterinarian. Ardmore’s Nahjee Grant will be signing copies of his latest children’s book, “Believe in Yourself: A Mirror of Hope,” dedicated to children and families affected by cancer, at the Ardmore Initiative office.

PastPresentFuture owner Sherry Tillman is offering a tax free shopping day. Other stores in the downtown plan sidewalk sales, and Burns reminds that nearby Suburban Square will be holding sidewalk sales that weekend. There will be information there about many more events coming to the downtown this fall, including:
ugg boots kids sale restaurants and services to show off for Ardmore Open House