With its emphasis on art shows, shopping specials, games and prizes, the Downtown Camas Association’s monthly First Friday event is fun for the whole family.
Now, the DCA is turning its attention to another monthly event — Third Thursday — in a bid to bring grown ups downtown for after-hours dining, shopping and maybe even a “date night” without the kids.
“We’re continuing to find ways to support our downtown businesses,” said Carrie Schulstad, executive director of the DCA, “and one thing people would love to have in our downtown is stores that are open later.”
Visitors often say they appreciate the DCA’s First Friday events, because it gives them a chance to shop locally after working long hours on weekdays, Schulstad explained, but it’s not feasible for most downtown Camas shops to stay open in the evening all the time.
“That’s just not where we are right now,” she said.
Having another monthly event geared toward after-hours shopping and dining seemed more doable.
“These events will be every month, just like First Friday, but will have a more ‘grown up’ vibe with after-hours shopping, dining, sipping and special activities or menus in downtown businesses,” Schulstad said.
The DCA’s first Third Thursday, scheduled for Thursday, April 15, will feature a “Tax Day happy hour” theme in honor of the typical April tax deadline (which has been extended to May 17 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Many downtown businesses will stay open later for the Third Thursday event, and feature specials that may or may not match the “Tax Day” theme.
The Soap Chest, for example, will feature stress-relief products; the Attic Gallery will host a party with live music, wine and cake in honor of the owner’s husband’s birthday; Salud! will pair wines with different Girl Scout cookies to celebrate “Girl Scout cookie” season; Tommy O’s will have a special meal and featured cocktail on its menu; Clover Podiatry is partnering with Arktana shoe and apparel store to sell shoe inserts at discounted prices; Lara Blair’s photography studio will host an open house and have portraits on display; Naturally Healthy Pets is celebrating its 12th anniversary in downtown Camas on Third Thursday; Camas Antiques will have pop-up shops, including the Brush Prairie-based Half Moon Farms, which sells raw honey and honey products; and LiveWell Camas (formerly known as Bliss Yoga) will feature three, Black-women owned, pop-up vendors offering a variety of products, including skincare lines and luxury candles.
Marilyn Reed, the owner of Lily Atelier, said she thinks the Third Thursday event will draw shoppers to her women’s clothing and accessories store on Northeast Fourth Avenue.
“First Friday is more for the families,” Reed said, “so this will be better for us.”
Schulstad said many downtown Camas business owners have been hit hard by the yearlong pandemic. Having two monthly events, she said, will hopefully help boost sales and bring more customers to the city’s downtown core.
“I think the businesses will do great having two nights with after-hours shopping,” Schulstad said. “And we will be promoting all the cool things that are happening at the businesses (ahead of each Third Thursday). It’s going to be super fun.”
For more information about the DCA’s First Friday or Third Thursday events, visit the downtown merchants’ association at downtowncamas.com or at facebook.com/downtownc amas.