Events & Engagement
Explore a few of the Community Events that the DBDA has either enhanced or developed, and Initiatives we've launched to provide even more opportunity for Belmont residents to come together in a sense of community and support our downtown resiliency in times of crisis.
Keep The Lights on
On March 12, 2020, Gaston County declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. The City of Belmont Main Street Program and the Downtown Belmont Development Association created the “Keep The Lights On” campaign to encourage the community to support downtown businesses through the pandemic. A “Keep The Lights On” video brought stark awareness to the effects COVID-19 could have on small businesses and captured 31,588 views on Facebook. The video also informed viewers of a “Keep the Lights On” page on the City of Belmont website with updated business information. Main Street staff maintained the webpage, which became a one-stop shop for customers to find out the operating status of businesses, changes to business hours, services, and offerings, and takeout and delivery options. Main Street staff also designed and distributed 10-minute curbside pickup signs to increase customer accessibility to downtown businesses.
The Main Street Program and the Downtown Belmont Development Association also produced a “Signs” video showing owners of retail businesses and restaurants with hashtag signs. Its purpose was to garner support for downtown businesses and drive people to the City’s webpage. The “Signs” video had 12,876 views on Facebook.
The Main Street Program worked with City leadership to create a $400,000 small business emergency loan program that immediately offered $10,000 loans to downtown businesses. Belmont Main Street and the Downtown Belmont Development Association held several fundraisers that together raised over $20,000 for a relief fund to help downtown businesses keep their lights on.
Because of the Keep the Lights On campaign, businesses were able to keep their doors open and maintain operations through a devastating time. As a direct result of the initiative, new retail shops and restaurants are locating in downtown Belmont because of the support they saw small businesses receive during the pandemic.
This campaign won a Best Economic Recovery Initiative Award.
Keep The Lights On Virtual 5K
As both a fundraiser for the Downtown Belmont Business Relief Fund and an purposeful, safe way for residents to act to help their fellow friends and neighbors in fighting back against the devastating effects the COVID-19 shutdown was having on Belmont's independent downtown businesses, the DBDA organized a virtual 5K to be run anytime, anywhere, with just a post of your time and a hashtag message of support.
Dog Park Initiative
You are as apt to see someone walking a dog in Downtown Belmont, as your are to receive a smile from a passing by local. With so many dog lovers and so many dog friendly businesses, the DBDA, in its efforts to activate underutilized green space and provide more opportunity for community to gather and socialize, launched an effort to initiate a dog park in Downtown Belmont. The DBDA surveyed, researched, planned, proposed and fundraised, resulting in inclusion of a dog park project on both the Parks & Recreation Master Plan and the most recent Capital Improvements Plan, currently under funding consideration by City Council. With identification of an underutilized piece of City property near to downtown (Catawba and 12th), the project progresses under City governance with the Main Street Board picking up the fundraising efforts to continue advancing this unique offering for Belmont residents.
Festival of Trees
With COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and in the interest of safety for our residents, the DBDA partnered with the City of Belmont to expand the annual Festival of Trees celebration, in lieu of our usual Christmas Village events. The Festival of Trees is a month long display of festive trees that decorate Stowe Park and our downtown shops and restaurants. Downtown business owners, schools, and local Gaston County non-profits sponsor and creatively decorated 45 trees that visitors could view on their own schedule, all month long. The DBDA further supported this festival by capturing images of the trees, as well as photos and videos of the organization participants, and compiling them in a Festival of Trees Tour of the free Belmont Go app, so that even those unable to leave their home would be able to experience the joyful decorations.
Friday Night Live concert series
A group of civic minded local businessmen are to thank for the birth of the Friday Night Live concert series that soon became a staple of Belmont living. Who doesn't enjoy spending a beautiful Carolina evening in the company of your friends and neighbors listening to music, and literally dancing in the street? When the Belmont Merchant's Association disbanded and the beloved series was in danger of disappearing, the DBDA stepped up to take the reigns. Over the years, the music may have evolved, but the joy and energy of those lovely spring and summer nights has not. Look for this series to resume, as soon as it is safe to gather once again in large crowds, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, heart to heart.
Every year Christmas Village is eagerly awaited by young and old alike.
Belmont's downtown comes alive with sparkle and shine, and with a stroll down the sidewalk, you'll be delighted to encounter friendly Christmas characters, hayrides, music, hot chocolate, s'mores and more.
In 2019, the Village grew to offer children's rides, food trucks and an ice skating rink!