Small Indiana cities and towns usually have a good amount of town pride and Auburn, IN is no exception. Auburn is a city of 13,000 people located about a half an hour north of Fort Wayne, IN. They are known for their Auburn Cord Dusenberg Festival every year on Labor Day Weekend. What many people may not know about is the “We Love Auburn Month” every February to promote downtown businesses. Using placemaking techniques, local businesses and artists, and a unique set of activities, they are able to bring more residents and visitors downtown during the month with the lowest sales, historically. The events are put on every weekend in February primarily by ADAC, the Auburn Development Advisory Committee, and also supports their future events for Auburn.
Some of their activities this past February included:
- Yarn Bombing Installation (January 28th)
This brightens up the whole downtown especially during the somewhat dreary month of February and calls for local artists to decorate (with yarn) trees, trash receptacles, light poles, and other public utilities. There are some very creative end products including musical instruments, animals, and abstract pieces.
- Upstairs Downtown (February 4th)
A handful of storefronts in the downtown opened up their upstairs (and some basements) to show people what the other parts of downtown buildings offer. Some of the buildings included a Masonic Temple, and a building which was originally a doctor’s office, then residential, and is now an insurance company. One of the traditional downtown commercial buildings uses the upstairs as more office and screen printing shop.
Additionally, at each building, a history of all the buildings was available with all their old uses and photos of each, compiled by the Willennar Genealogy Center.
- Ice Sculptures (February 11th)
Local sculptors from around central Indiana were commissioned to create ice sculptures to sell to local businesses and community establishments around Auburn. For every 5 sculptures which were purchased at $500, the sculptors made a free ice sculpture. These went to places such as: Auburn Essential Services, local banks, the Chamber of Commerce, Visitor’s Bureau, and other local shops. Some sculptures were carved on site, making it an even more interactive process.
- Dine Downtown (February 18th)
A local restaurant (Mad Anthony’s) gave 15% of their proceeds from the night to ADAC as a fundraiser. This turned out to be a very successful event!
- Take It Off Party (February 25th)
This event was to take down the yarn bombing which was put up at the beginning of the month. They created it into an event with a local band, food, and a paddle auction!
All these events are fun ways to encourage people to appreciate the city they live in and show them that their city can be fun as well as functional. Using placemaking and creative local individuals, they are able to create an even more exciting and liveable city.
Information courtesy of Amber Bassett, Zoning Administrator for the City of Auburn.
Main Image Source.
Learn more about the work ADAC does in Auburn and Auburn in general here.