Spring is in the air, and downtown Marietta and the historic Harmar Village are celebrating it in style Friday night with the annual ReStore Marietta Garden Party.
From 6 to 9 p.m., the annual celebration of spring features specials at more than 30 area businesses, live entertainment and everything from mulch to flowers to get a garden started.
"It's just a great time for people to come down and start celebrating spring weather and shop local," said Jennifer Offenberger, past president and board member of ReStore Marietta.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Tammy Wilson, right, and Sarah Pytlik, left, display hats made for the Garden Party Hat competition at Teri Ann’s on Front Street Wednesday afternoon. The ReStore Marietta Garden Party is slated for Friday night.
All told, there will be 31 merchants in downtown and Harmar participating, with 17 of them featuring decorated storefronts in the garden theme.
"They bring in live flowers and mulch, and go all out," said Mallory Greenham, executive director of ReStore Marietta.
Along with the garden party itself on Friday, ReStore is also hosting a hat contest through its Facebook page all week.
People can design their own garden party hat in categories including botanical, do-it-yourself and glamorous. Botanical entries are anything having to do with flowers, fresh or fake, and the glamorous is basically the more bling the better, Offenberger explained.
Participants have until Friday evening to post their hats on ReStore's Facebook page.
"You have an opportunity to win some fabulous prizes. There's no fee to participate," Offenberger said.
The 17 area businesses decorating their storefronts will be participating in a people's choice contest, where donations will be placed in jars. The store with the most money then wins the people's choice award. Proceeds are used to benefit the hanging basket project of ReStore.
Teri Ann's, 290 Front St., is one of the stores participating in the storefront contest, and has big plans in the works, said owner Teri Ann Pfeffer.
"We're going to have a theme going on, a Polynesian theme," she said.
Stores across downtown and Harmar will also be offering discounts on merchandise. Customers in the stores can select a flower from a display and on the stem of the flowers will be a percentage off their purchase, Offenberger explained.
The 31 businesses participating in this year's garden party makes it the biggest yet.
"Our merchants are becoming more active in ReStore Marietta and organizing events that keep people coming downtown," Offenberger said.
Along with the shopping, there will also be refreshments in the stores and live entertainment on the street.
Marietta High School show choir Premiere and the band Schools that Rock, under the guidance of Mark Doebrich, will be performing, as will a jazz ensemble, Greenham said.
Maps will be available showing where participating merchants and events are located. The maps will be at a ReStore booth by The Cook Shop on Front Street and in the ReStore office on Putnam Street.
The first of several Friday night events over the summer, the garden party typically draws several hundred people downtown for a night of shopping and fellowship.
"It's a fun evening and we're looking forward to it," Pfeffer said.
If you go
What: ReStore Marietta Garden Party.
Where: Downtown Marietta and historic Harmar Village.
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.
For information: www.restoremarietta.org.