Matt Wiederhold, Executive Director of Main Street Medina

Matt Wiederhold, Executive Director of Main Street Medina

Matt Wiederhold, Executive Director of Main Street Medina, is feeling pretty good. The 25th annual Medina Candlelight Walk is over and it exceeded his expectations.  He and a small committee of ten worked tirelessly to make that happen.

“It was huge,” said Matt.  “There were between eight and ten thousand people attending.  On Saturday evening the Square was so packed that you could barely walk.  And the shops were full – had the best sales in years.”

It was also a satisfying conclusion to his first full year running the Main Street program, during which time he produced two major events on the Square: the Chalk Art Fest  this past May, and the International  Fest in August.  Main Street also sponsored the World Tour of Music:  four concerts presenting a variety of musical offerings – from the St. Petersburg Quartet and Broadway show tunes, to Gospel music and steel drum bands.

Main Street’s mandate is to focus on revitalization efforts in the central business district around Public Square, a nine block area.  This includes not only creating exciting new events and programs, but also supporting existing businesses and recruiting new businesses.

“I am happy to say that four new businesses have opened in the historic area this year, in the worst economy in years,” Wiederhold said.

The Main Street concept was pioneered in the 1970’s by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, combining historic preservation with economic development to restore vitality to downtown areas. Nationally there are 2,000 communities utilizing the Main Street approach, 39 of them in Ohio.

“I have received a warm welcome in Medina,” Matt observed, “Although not everyone knows me yet.  One time I said to someone,  ‘Hello, I’m Matt from Main Street’.  And the response was, ‘Oh, we ate at your restaurant (The Main Street Café) last week.  It was great!”

Oh well, there’s always 2010.

Hospice Circle of Light Photo by Matt Wiederhold
Hospice Circle of Light Photo by Matt Wiederhold.

“The Circle of Light around Hospice’s Tree of Light came about by accident.  We had too many luminarias and decided to place them in a circle around the tree.  And suddenly it became a place of reflection.  People came and stood quietly, some cried.  It was very moving.”

-Matt Wiederhold

For more pictures of the Candlelight Walk by Matt Wiederhold, click here.

Happy Thanksgiving.  See you in December.

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