A new monthly event by the Leesburg Downtown Business Association looks to attract a key demographic to downtown Leesburg: Families with children.
The inaugural Family Fun Saturdays event is set for Sept. 17, and is tentatively scheduled for the third Saturday of each month. The idea for Family Fun Saturdays came from board members brainstorming about different events that the downtown area could regularly host, in addition to the already popular First Fridays.
This has been a desire not just of LDBA, but from the town government. Town Manager Kaj Dentler made the downtown a priority in this year’s budget cycle, setting aside funding for marketing and events to promote the heart of the town.
First-year board member Leah Kosin, a mom of three, said she thought it would be great if there could be a family-oriented event in downtown, and the initiative was born.
“The goal is to have a lot of businesses open with a lot of kid-friendly events on the inside, so you can get to check out stores that you may not get to see any other time,” she said.
Already businesses that have signed on to participate have put together an eclectic line-up of kid-friendly activities for the first installment of the initiative.
Sunflower Shack will have flower pots for decorating and children can bring home a sunflower to plant; Very Virginia will host cookie decorating with Lola’s Cookies; and Books and Other Found Things will have kid’s stories and splotch monster artist Steve Loya exhibiting, to name but a few. Village at Leesburg tenant Rita’s Italian Ice will also be downtown, offering free Italian ice to attendees.
More entertainment options are constantly being added, and Kosin has started a Facebook page, Leesburg’s Family Fun Saturday, that updates all the offerings.
As competition to the downtown has sprung up in recent years, with the rise of mixed-use developments like Village at Leesburg and One Loudoun in Ashburn, Kosin said the goal is to get more residents to head to downtown for shopping, dining and entertainment options.
“We want businesses to participate because we want to get more people in their doors,” she said.
The LDBA itself is going through a time of change, as it will be changing its name and attempting to attract a wider reach.
“We don’t want it to just be focused on downtown businesses. If we have more participation we can be more effective,” Kosin said.
The organization’s name will be changing to the Leesburg Historic Downtown Association, with the focus still on the downtown but participation opening up not just to downtown business owners.
“Our main focus is always going to be downtown. But there’s no longer the word business because we want to reach out to those who have a home-based business, [residents] who want the opportunity to serve on the board,” Kosin said. “This is just another way to involve more people, make it feel more like a town and that everyone’s working together.”
For more information on Family Fun Saturday, go to Leesburg’s Family Fun Saturday Facebook page.