LAKEWOOD RANCH — After more than a yearlong recession, Lakewood Ranch Main Street has something to celebrate.
In the last two months alone, the shopping plaza off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard has welcomed four new businesses.
And to celebrate the plaza’s five newest businesses, Lakewood Ranch will host a grand opening street party celebration from 5-10 p.m., Aug. 20, at Main Street. The free event will feature music by radio station WCTQ, bounce houses, face painting, free hot dog meals for children and a fish fry for adults.
“We hope to see dancing in the streets,” said Candice McElyea, director of marketing and public relations for Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch. “There’re a big variety of activities. I think it’s really going to be similar to a Music on Main but with a twist because it’s really going to be celebrating these new businesses.”
There even will be a trapeze company offering lessons on the trapeze for a small fee, she said.
Money raised from the event will benefit the Sarasota Film Society, which operates the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.
McElyea said more than 150 new homes have been sold in Lakewood Ranch since the beginning of the year, and the commercial real estate market now is following suit. With five businesses opening on Main Street in just the last several months, it’s the perfect time to celebrate.
“It’s an exciting time for Main Street,” McElyea said. “That’s not happening anywhere else. We feel it’s a sign the market is recovering. That is why we wanted to have this street party and welcome residents to see these new business.”
Businesses being celebrated include bead shop Knot Awl Beads, Mexican restaurant Eduardo’s Cantino, Italian eatery Main Street Trattoria, The Fish Hole Adventure Golf and Prudential Palms Realty, which will open in September.
Business owners said they are looking forward to the event and eager to serve local families.
“I love my new spot,” said Fran Jensen, owner of Knot Awl Beads. “The foot traffic here just in the last two weeks (since we opened) has been unbelievable. It’s more of a destination. We’re excited to celebrate with all the other stores that are opening here.”
Main Street Trattoria, a new Italian eatery, was slated to open this week, but had not opened by press time Tuesday. General Manager Rodney Millspaugh said he was hoping to open before Friday’s event.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing Lakewood Ranch is doing for us,” he said. “We’re just really excited to be part of the community.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at email@example.com.
STREET PARTY CELEBRATION
WHEN: 5-10 p.m., Aug. 20
WHERE: Lakewood Ranch Main Street
BENEFICIARY: Sarasota Film Society