Downtown Bowling Green

Chocolate Crawl brings out competitive nature in choco-holics

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News My husband, a runner, does not understand the skill and stamina required to complete a “Chocolate Crawl.” He cannot comprehend how an event called a “crawl” is athletic. But this year’s Chocolate Crawl went from 16 business participants last year to 42 this year. As far as I’m concerned, that is like going from a 5K to a marathon. My husband also has no respect for the training regimen it takes leading up to the annual event held in downtown Bowling Green as a fundraiser for United Way during the city’s Winterfest. And he refuses to acknowledge that there is a technique: Gloves slow you down. No matter how cold it is, repeated removal and replacement of gloves cuts into your finish time. The harsh reality is, some places will run out of chocolates before feeding all 500 participants.Hydrate. Take advantage of the stores offering the chocolate smoothies, the chocolate “buzz” rum shots, the hot chocolate and the chocolate shooters which threw in a shot of espresso so “crawlers” could maintain their pace.Use the buddy system. When you are eating chocolate on the crawl, you need a true friend who will tell you if your face is covered in hastily eaten chocolate. (Thank you, Julie.)Accessorize with a bag, since consuming all the chocolate on site is not advisable.Consult the downtown map occasionally to make sure you stay on course and don’t miss chocolate stops. Robin Cross, of Bowling Green, was going strong as she started the Chocolate Crawl Friday evening. She had just stopped in at SamB’s for one of the true delicacies on the crawl route – a Belgian chocolate truffle dipped in Columbian white chocolate with an Amareno cherry on top. “It’s my favorite so far,” Cross said. Of course, she hadn’t turned down the more common chocolate treats of the Hershey variety. The lure of chocolate was enough to get her out in the cold. “It’s for a good cause … and you gotta love chocolate,” she said. Charlotte Perlaky, 10, of Sylvania, dips into the chocolate fountain at Waddington…

Read More

Downtown BG seeks ice sculpture sponsors

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Winterfest BG Chillabration is back for 2019 on Feb. 8 and 9 even bigger and better than last year. The Saturday evening of live bands in a heated tent, incredible ice bar and amazing ice garden met with rave reviews.  This year a larger Frozen Swamp Tent will not only provide shelter for live music from 4 – 11 p.m., it will also present the Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All this happens in the Huntington parking lot on the corner of Clough and S. Main Streets. This is also the location for our beautiful ice garden and live ice carving demonstrations.  This year’s sculptures will show a variety of our town’s finest establishments logos and images from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. These amazing works of ice art are sure to be a hit with every age group. This event offers something for everyone.  Families can come out for the day and enjoy the festivities and at night people can enjoy the hours of entertainment, craft beer and wine served from behind the incredible ice bar.   The Downtown Foundation will be overseeing the ice sculpture sales as a fundraiser. The foundation sponsors to commission a custom ice sculpture displayed for the thousands of people expected to attend.  \They will also be seen via our website, social media and WTOL coverage. The funds raised will help us continue to complete beautification projects in our historic downtown.   Contact our office at 419-354-4332 or download an order form from our website at DowntownBGOhio.org.


BGSU architecture students aim to teach downtown’s Dog Leg Alley some new tricks

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News All it took was an unassuming alley in downtown Bowling Green to spark the imaginations of architecture students at Bowling Green State University. The class in urban architecture taught by Sara Khorshidifard studied the alley, called Dog Leg Alley, just south of Finders Records on the east side of North Main Street. The goal was to improve the use and look of the alley. What they came up with impressed people from the city who viewed their designs during a recent display on campus. “Who would have thought you could have this many concepts for one alley,” said Tony Vetter, the executive director of Downtown Bowling Green. Khorshidifard said she worked with Vetter’s predecessor, Mary Hinkelman, to come up with the idea for the project. Hinkelman, Khorshidifard said, was interested in developing the alley, especially for use during the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The designs ranged from the elaborate, including lights, trellises, and even projectors, to simple seating, and maybe a mural. Dog LegFrom left, Mayor Richard Edwards, Greg Halamay, and Tony Vetter look at students’ ideas for Dog Leg Alley. Lauren Schmenk, one of the students whose designed drew praise, said her goal as to make small changes to create a more appealing space. That included lighting, some greenery, and murals. “You don’t have to make big changes to have an impact,” she said. Greg Halamay, who owns Finders and chairs the Downtown BG board of directors, appreciated that approach. While the more dramatic ideas were “terrific,” he was looking for more modest suggestions that could actually be realized without a major expense. Mayor Dick Edwards also appreciated the students work and the possibility of a project that “opens up that alley that’s rarely used, that brings it to life.” This was a two-three week long project for the students, Khorshidifard said. The students are all seniors, and this is the first class where they deal with the concept of urbanism. They studied issues such as the interaction of urban and rural areas and the idea of utopia. They looked at cities from…


Christmas boutique offers all the fixings for a hand made holiday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Shopping small doesn’t get any more personal than buying gifts from local artisans who make them. That’s the experience that the Grounds For Thought Christmas Boutique  has been offering for 15 years. This year’s boutique will be presented Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the coffeeshop at 174 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. Customers will be able to buy knitted and felted clothing with jewelry for accents.  All-natural lotions, soap, cleansers, and balms to pamper the skin beneath the clothes. Photographs and paintings — watercolor, encaustic, and pastels — to please the eye. Bowls of wood and ceramic will be on sale as well as handmade books and cards.   Many of the vendors are regulars at the boutique — space is limited and the crowds are good, so there’s a limit to the number of new vendors. But every year, the boutique finds room to fit in a few newcomers. This year, for example, Ellen Fure Smith’s Little Bare Furniture will be on hand. Smith will be tucked back near the conference room. For the first time the conference room will be used for vendors. Sandy Wicks said the boutique started during her time with the Downtown Business Association. The event was a spinoff from the Black Swamp Arts Festival, which she had helped to found.  “We wanted something in the winter,” Wicks said.   “So many of my friends were crafters and artists, and we thought  this would be a great event.” The first boutique had 10 vendors, she said.  This year it’ll feature 26. “I’d say at least half have all been in the Black Swamp Arts Festival. It’s a really nice quality boutique and Christmas show.” All the work sold must be “completely handmade and  original,” she said. The customers who pack into Grounds for the boutique appreciate the quality. Wicks is joined by artisan Kathy Pereira de Almeida  in organizing the fair. She handles a lot of the logistics, Wicks said. Pereira de Almeida said she had hosted her own holiday crafts fair…


No such thing as free parking … somebody’s got to pay

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   One by one, the business owners and city officials took turns trying a different type of parking kiosk that promised to be easy to use, faster for patrons, and less likely to cause frustration for shoppers. The sample kiosk, presented recently by International Parking Solutions, was promoted as taking less than 10 seconds to use. But as with most technology, human error and uncertainty sometimes stretched out the time. Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick, whose staff patrols the city parking lots, said the kiosks used in the lot behind Panera were “not well received.” The city and a parking task force is considering several downtown parking options – including the replacement of the current kiosks with new easier models. “You want to make it as convenient as you can,” said Michael Wilson of IPS. The new sample kiosk proved to be easier – since it allows users to pay in a variety of ways with a variety of paths to get there. Unlike the existing kiosks, this one does not send the motorist back to square one if a step is missed. “If this takes you longer than 10 seconds, it’s too long,” Wilson said. But there are some problems with the IPS kiosk. It will accept credit cards or coins – but programming it to accept dollar bills costs an extra $1,500 per kiosk. Motorists who frequent the lots can go online and register their credit card to streamline the process more. Like the current kiosks in use, the IPS model also notifies motorists on their phones of their parking time nearing expiration. The motorists can then ask for more time. “The revenue side of parking is critical to cities,” Wilson said. It’s often that money that is used to maintain city parking lots and sidewalks, he said. The average minimum parking cost in cities is $1 an hour. Anything less than $1 is not work the credit card processing, Wilson said. Costs in larger communities are much higher, like $2.75 an hour in Madison, Wisconsin, and $6.50 an hour…


BG residents urged to shop locally at small businesses for holidays

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials suggested local resident go big and shop small. With holiday shopping season officially starting on Friday, Bowling Green officials urged local residents to spend some money with local small businesses. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards and new Downtown BG Director Tony Vetter took to the podium at the City Council meeting Monday evening to promote “Small Business Saturday” which follows this week’s “Black Friday.” The “Small Business Saturday” moniker is an annual reminder of the need to support small businesses, Edwards said. The annual shopping promotion started in 2010 in response to the recession. It was intended to help small businesses recover, Vetter said. In the U.S., 28.8 million small businesses account for 99 percent of businesses, employing more than 48 percent of American workers, the mayor said. The Saturday after Thanksgiving has become a very important day in the life of many small retailers. “It is a break even day for a lot of small businesses,” Edwards said. Downtown Bowling Green retailers are counting on local residents spending some of their holiday shopping money here. “Downtown Bowling Green is so important to our economy,” the mayor said. And Vetter noted that “Small Business Saturday” is not just about downtown and not just about this weekend. “Shop small is not just this weekend. It’s all year round,” Vetter said. Also at Monday’s meeting, City Council approved a solar project easement and lease agreement with the Wood County Commissioners and Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The city is researching the viability of building a community solar field on property owned by those two entities on the north side of East Gypsy Lane Road, just east of Interstate 75. Council also heard from a Bowling Green State University graduate student in public administration, who has been researching the financial history of the city in the 1970s when the city budget was very stretched. He mentioned that he has been unable to access some records, and urged council to preserve such records for safekeeping. Council President Mike Aspacher assured the student…


BG Holiday Parade to step off early

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The start of the holiday season in Bowling Green is official when the Community Holiday Parade makes its way down Main Street through the historic Downtown on Saturday, Nov. 17.  The tradition continues and is especially exciting with WTOL broadcasting live through the support of our Presenting Sponsors; Julie’s Dance Studio, Rosenboom Custom Crafted Cylinders, Regel Beloit and the City of Bowling Green. This parade is billed as the largest holiday parade in Northwest Ohio and those that attend can look forward to seeing floats, marching bands, baton twirlers, antique tractors, dancers and so much more.  The parade will be emceed by Jerry Anderson and Jordan Strack and the WTOL Defender vehicle will be a part of the parade.  We have worked really closely with WTOL members to make sure we bring excellent broadcast of this parade to those that can’t be here.  This will be a three hour broadcast starting at 9 am with a listing of all the area holiday activities.  At 10 am the commercial free coverage of the entire parade will start and will conclude at noon. Because of this live broadcast we would like everyone to be aware that the parade will step off at 9:50 am to provide time for the first units to make their way to the four corners close to the start of the 10 am broadcast. This year the parade is chaired by Greg Esposito, InTech IT Solutions.  Greg is the At-Large representative of the Chamber of Commerce Executive Board.  Project Team members for the parade help in many capacities and the chamber can’t thank them enough for the roughly seven months they have been working on the parade.  These team members include:  Jerid Friar, Melinda Kale, Julie Setzer, Brian Paskvan, Wendy Headley, Marissa Muniz, Wendy Chambers, Pam Fahle, Jacquelyn Gaines, Greg Kegler, Atonn Smeltzer and Mary Hinkelman. Judges for this year’s parade are Earlene Kilpatrick, Francis Scruci and Abby Paskvan.  They will be looking for units that have adhered to the theme of the parade, creativity, performance and other features that make their…