What do you love most about downtown Marietta? The unique shops? Beautiful, historic buildings? The sense of community you feel when walking downtown? The hanging flower baskets?
The classic purple petunias – the purple wave – have been with Marietta for years and have become a signature characteristic for the downtown community throughout spring and summer. Tourists travel for miles to experience Marietta while locals increase their downtown visits during these months. Registers ring more frequently in our downtown shops, events happen nearly every weekend, and local photographers roam town to capture the beauty of the downtown streetscapes – much to the contribution of the colorful downtown flowers.
When funding fell through for watering and maintaining the flowers this summer, Marietta Main Street was quick to react, launching a fundraising campaign overnight in an attempt to cover the costs. Maintaining the flowers downtown requires daily watering and care, more than 400 hours over the course of the summer. The organization needed to raise $4,000 in order to hire a part-time staff person; the flowers could not be hung until a staff person was secured to begin watering.
“The Save Our Flowers! Campaign was Marietta Main Street’s response to the need to think quickly on our feet, and our community responded fourfold,” said Cristie Thomas, Executive Director of Marietta Main Street. “To raise nearly $4,000 in 24 hours is a testament to the level of support this community shows, and we are proud to be Marietta’s Main Street organization.”
In less than two days, the campaign was completely funded, reaching the $4,000 goal in record time. The community’s response was nothing short of miraculous. Generous donors included community leaders such as the Marietta Memorial Health System, Marietta College, and the Marietta Community Foundations, as well as dozens of individual community members who felt compelled to step up and make a difference.
Marietta Main Street is the sole coordinator of the downtown beautification program. In collaboration with Marietta in Bloom, the organization works annually to develop a design for the continuation of the flower program, submits for grant funding, gives a thumbs up to Jay Huck of L.E. Huck & Sons Greenhouses to plant seeds and care for our purple beauties, coordinates volunteers to transport and hang our flowers, and welcomes a part-time staff member from May to September to put in no less than 3 hours of work every day, including weekends, to water and maintain the flowers. Marietta’s downtown beautification program requires dedicated efforts and significant planning to continue making Marietta beautiful.
While the Save Our Flowers! campaign has accomplished its goal, the organization continues to accept donations to fund future downtown beautification efforts. You can learn more and make a donation through their website, here.