The Taste of Lexington! Join the Fun!

By Laurie Atwater

Each holiday season the downtown retailers knock themselves out trying to find ways to entice customers away from shopping on the internet and back to the shops and restaurants of Lexington.  While each year sees an up-tick in foot traffic, nothing so far has recaptured the excitement of Lexington holiday shopping events of the past, when the sidewalks were jammed with shoppers, diners, friends and neighbors enjoying the lights and magic along Massachusetts Avenue.

Well, that’s about to change!

This year, if all goes as planned, things may change. The Lexington Mavens in partnership with Lexington’s Chamber of Commerce and the Lexington Retailers Association are introducing The Taste of Lexington, a downtown celebration of local shopping, dining and old-fashioned fun!

The brainchild of Patrice Cleaves and Delilah Atkinson, founders of the Lexington Mavens, the Taste of Lexington is set for December 6th in Lexington Center from 5-9:30 PM!

You haven’t heard of the Mavens? That’s okay. It’s a Facebook group of about 2,200 Lexington women. Patrice says, “We’ve created this vibrant community of women. Delilah and I each handpicked 60 individual influencers across town—they were connectors, and they care about the community beyond their own footprint which was a big thing for me. We asked them to come on board and help us develop the Mavens.” In a short period of time, The Mavens has become quite a force in the community

Patrice and Delilah envisioned the Facebook site as a junction box where all kinds of people can make connections in a protected space. According to Delilah, “What our members love about the Mavens is the ability to go online, get conversations go

 

ing, receive feedback or advice, and feel involved. The aim is not to be commercial — we don’t make money from the platform — and keep it authentic.  The heart of the group is all about community. Friendships have formed, events have happened that have helped people feel a part of our town.”

The Taste of Lexington event is a logical extension of the Mavens brand. Getting outside the digital space expands and reinforces membership by providing in-person events where members can socialize and share their stories and ideas and get to know each other. “The Taste of Lexington is also based on our founding principles of getting out into the community, getting involved and taking part.  We wanted to create an event that would bring people down to the Center so they can get to know what’s right on their doorstep,” Delilah says.

The women reached out to the Lexington Retailers and the Chamber of Commerce to maximize the success of the event. “We want to create a big event that supports and involves the community and businesses,” Patrice says. “We want to show businesses that we can turn out in large numbers.”

Delilah acknowledges that the retail community has been affected by the shift to online shopping. “The world of click and shop has taken over,” she says, “and as much as we all love the ease and instant gratification, there is something to say for the in-store, restaurant and service experience.”

Eric Michelson, co-owner of Michelson’s Shoe and President of the Lexington Retailers Association, has high hopes for the Taste of Lexington. “The holiday season is so important to the success of our local businesses that we are excited to partner with the Lexington Mavens to promote what Lexington has to offer.”

In the past, the responsibility of coordinating community holiday events has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the Retailers Association and the Chamber. The Retailers organize Trick or Treat and Discovery Day. During the busy holiday shopping season, they are happy to have the help of the Mavens! Eric says, “The Taste of Lexington is a true community event, with local businesses offering discounts and promotions; we hope people will join us and see just how many great shops and businesses are located right here in town.”

The Lexington Chamber of Commerce is also throwing its resources behind Taste of Lexington and enthusiastically embracing The Mavens and LRA as partners. Jim Shaw, Colonial Times publisher and Chairman of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce says, “We are delighted and appreciative that the Lexington Mavens have stepped up to help local businesses this holiday season, and the businesses have responded with significant offers and savings!  This event will bring hundreds of Lexington residents to the Center for an evening of shopping and dining. Many shops are participating and creating their own festive in-store activities.  The restaurant selections are incredible—Lexington has become quite a destination for dining out. People will not be  disappointed.” Shaw stresses that they have also included businesses from outside of the Center. “There will be ‘pop-up’ locations (that will host other Lexington Businesses) like the Historical Society’s Depot Building and TD Bank lobby.

The entire community is invited to the first annual Taste of Lexington. Shops and restaurants are offering refreshments and significant discounts and promotional offers. There will be singing groups on the sidewalks and an incredible sense of holiday spirit up and down the avenue.

If Taste of Lexington is a success, it will be because of the enthusiasm and hard work of these three groups and their desire to make it an exciting evening to share the seasonal beauty of Lexington Center, support local businesses and have fun! Delilah says, “We don’t want Lexington to lose its charm, we want to help it come to life and get residents excited!”

 

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