For the more than 14,000 event-goers filling the streets during the inaugural two-night, one day free community festival Meet Me On The Promenade: Downtown Boca, there was plenty to see and do, and much new business to be had by participating retailers, salons and spas, boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries as the next generation Downtown destination put out the celebratory welcome mat this past weekend.
To share the new “sense of ‘walkable’ space and place” and showcase the eclectic live-work-play-stay features of Boca's new generation Downtown for all generations, Meet Me On The Promenade event programming was designed for discovering all there is along the newly paved Downtown Boca Pedestrian Promenade and the areas and businesses that it connects on East Palmetto Park Road, S.E. First Street, N.E. First Avenue, Boca Raton Road, from Mizner Park to Royal Palm Place.
To help all explore the Downtown, event highlights included:
- Opening festivities on Friday night hosted by the Boca Raton Resort & Club got the street-filling party going with ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sanborn Square for the new Pedestrian Promenade, and the debut of the Official Downtown Boca Bop community line dance choreographed by Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Boca Raton and led by its instructors and community leaders. All followed by live performances by Zumba instructors, Grandview Preparatory School Dance Academy, and music by BulleTt band. The big screens throughout the Promenade area showcased all the happenings, up close and personal; all AV production was done by Multi Image Group and screens were provided by Palm Beach Outdoor Cinema.
- On Saturday morning more than 6,000 participants in the American Cancer Society’s 10th Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk (its largest ever) were routed from Mizner Park Amphitheater south throughout Downtown Boca, with many staying or coming back with their friends and family to enjoy the all there was to see and do at the Meet Me On The Promenade festival.
- The “Sip & Stroll Around Downtown Boca” self-guided discovery tour program sponsored by Kaye Communications, Inc. and Coldwell Banker Residential helped attendees to easily navigate through Downtown Boca's community’s assets: dining, shopping, fashion, culture, family fun, living, and nightlife and all the Meet Me On The Promenade scheduled activities and programming, entertainment, special retail and dining discounts, and giveaway offerings.
- In The Family Zone hosted by Office Depot Foundation about 4,000 event-goers were photographed next to the Office Depot show car driven by NASCAR Champions Tony Stewart, more than 750 signed up for volunteerism in the Office Depot Foundation’s Caring Connection, and a never-ending line of children hopped on and explored the pirate ship from the Boca Raton Children’s Museum and enjoyed making their own pirate hats set up by South Florida Parenting. Families watched in amazement to design talents of Balloon Masterz (which included a full mermaid, cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants, and more) at the bocaparent.com booth and then learned about community gardening and healthy cooking by the Junior League of Boca Raton.
- A true car lover’s paradise, the Cruz-N-Downtown exotic and classic car show presented by Cruz-N-America and sponsored by Comerica Bank, Hubgarage.com, and Sheehan Autoplex garnered the attention of all generations and boutiques that had models photographed next to several of the 125 rare cars that lined curbside throughout Downtown Boca. The prize for Best in Show was awarded to a violet 1957 Lincoln Premier. The six car showcase by Concours d’ Elegance, featuring a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible,1965 Shelby Cobra 427, 1958 Pontiac Bonneville, 1964 Buick Riviera, 1963 Jaguar E Type Race Prepared and a 1957 Chevy that are set to be auctioned in February 2012, was a big draw.
- The Art Attack Artists and Crafters Village Art Expo featured everything from themed hi-tech lighting art and sculpture to jewelry, fashion, and live floral arrangements. More art abound at Celebrate Art! free afternoon at the Boca Raton Museum of Art that featured interactive art programming and tours, plus free art activities and entertainment at ArtScape at Mizner Park.
- The ever-popular Gourmet Truck Expo along with Downtown Boca restaurants made sure attendees palates were pleased, day and night.
- Many tee-ed up at the Sports Zone driving range sponsored by Allianz Championship.
- A cross-section of nonprofits and local businesses filled the Community Corner, not only sharing their missions with event-goers but also with each other that resulted in increased collaborative efforts among nonprofits.
- The Health-Full Community Pavilion sponsored by Dr. Peter S. Wohlgemuth, D.M.D., P.A., featured a variety of wellness experts and services, such as a Meet The Doctor series hosted by the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, samplings by Nussentials and JBK Naturals, health screenings by Addison Mizner Medical and Intermed of Boca plus the Blood Centers of South Florida blood mobile and the Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Mammovan.
- The first “Picture Downtown Boca” photography contest presented by South Florida Sunrise in association with the Boca Raton Museum of Art and MIG drew close to 2,000 fan votes.
- Non-stop entertainment and showcasing at three stages, including West Boca Jazz Band, Rising Stars Gymnastics, SOL Children Theatre Troupe, Grandview Prepatory School Dance Academy, Solid Gold Music, SHOWTIME Performing Arts Theatre, demonstrations by Linda Alfieri and Nail Depot, Fear Factor Host Stacey Steele, Serpentines, Bobby Kent, Jimmy Stowe and The Stowaways, and more.
- Event-goers zoomed back and forth through the promenade on Segway Tours sponsored by Verizon Wireless Cellular Sales.
- Two walking tours of historic Downtown Boca by the Boca Raton Historical Society showed an aspect of Downtown many had not seen or thought of before.
- The downtown celebration continued at three Meet Me On The Promenade after-parties hosted by the Dubliner Irish Restaurant & Bar at Mizner Park, Biergarten at Royal Palm Place, and Platforms Dance Club on SE 1st Avenue.
“This is just the beginning of what’s to come in and from Downtown Boca…underscoring what we say… Downtown Boca: It’s Happening!,” said Constance Scott, City Council Chair of the Boca Raton Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
She added that this inaugural event celebrated the recent completion the City of Boca Raton CRA’s $5 million enhancement program and new Downtown Boca Pedestrian Promenade that has created a new destination hub at its centrally located Sanborn Square Park. The new reconstructed paved streets and widened sidewalks strengthen the physical and experiential connection and enhance and promote walkability between south and north ends of Downtown Boca. With the strategic installation of new pop-up bollards that can easily be raised to close off the streets around Sanborn Square, the new hub provides yet another great outdoor event locale within Downtown Boca for both private and commercial rentals and community activities.
“Meet Me On The Promenade, a perfect example of successful public/private partnership supported by the connectivity and collaboration of Downtown Boca business and lifestyle,” reflected City of Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel. “It was hosted by the Boca Raton CRA, developed/implemented by the City's branding and marketing consultants, produced by City staff, supported by the connectivity, participation and collaboration of Downtown Boca businesses, and completely underwritten by community stakeholders and partners who understand the important impact a vibrant Downtown community has on lifestyle and economic benefits for an entire community and destination.”
Founding sponsors of Meet Me On The Promenade included Premier sponsors: Boca Raton Resort & Club (Friday Night Host), Verizon Wireless Cellular Sales South Florida (Downtown Boca Segway Tours Sponsor), and Office Depot (Small Business Partner); and Gold sponsors: Office Depot Foundation (Family Zone Host), Boca Raton Regional Hospital (Welcome Bag Sponsor), Ram Realty Services (Art Attack Artists & Crafters Village Art Expo Sponsor), Investments Limited/Royal Palm Place (Trolley Sponsor), GGP/Mizner Park (Trolley Sponsor), Penn Florida Companies (Welcome Center Host), Fred Astaire Dance Studio-Boca Raton (Official Downtown Boca Dance Studio and Presenter of the Official Downtown Boca Bop Line Dance), Kaye Communications, Inc. (Programming Development Partner, and A Sip & Stroll Presenting Sponsor), Multi-Image Group (Official AV Sponsor), Boca Raton Museum of Art and South Florida Sunrise (Presenter of "Picture Downtown Boca" Photography Competition).
Community Partners included: Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and American Cancer Society-South Palm Beach Unit. Media sponsors includes but is not limited to Forum Publications and its City Link, South Florida Parenting, and Boca Piquant publications; WRMF Radio; The Sun-Sentinel, Boca Raton Tribune,bocaparent.com, South Florida Sunrise, Coastal Star, Boca Observer, LivingFLA.com, and Bocaraton.com.
Other Programming partners included: Cruz-N-America, Boca Raton Children’s Museum, Boca Raton Historical Society, Allianz Championship, Junior League of Boca Raton, SOL Children Theatre Troupe, Jimmy Stowe and the Stowaways, Gallery 22, Peter Blum Family YMCA of Boca Raton, Boca Raton Concours d’ Elegance/Boys & Girls Club of Broward County, Habitat For Humanity, Beehive Fitness, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Florida Atlantic University, Rising Stars Gymnastics, Boca Raton Travel & Cruises, Rotary Club of Boca Raton "Future Stars", West Boca High School Jazz Band, SHOWTIME Performing Arts Theatre, Solid Gold Music, and Segway Tours of Delray Beach.
For more information on upcoming Downtown Boca events and activities, visit www.downtownboca.org frequently.