After ringing in the new year with an all new event in Downtown Birmingham, the BRRmingham Blast that was held on January 27, the Birmingham Shopping District (BSD) will continue to bring forth some new events and projects this year, as well as elevating what we already do so well.
Last year, the BSD garnered feedback from the community and adopted a strategic plan that focused on increasing the frequency of our local residents and shoppers, as well as growing the regional attraction and length of stays visitors have in downtown Birmingham. To do this, the BSD board and its committees of volunteers identified a few key areas to achieve these goals, including enhancing some of the existing events, as well as adding new signature events that are perfect for Birmingham. The BRRmingham Blast is one of two that the BSD is introducing this year. Upcoming events can be found online at allinbirmingham.com/calendar.
The other new event to look forward to in 2024 in downtown Birmingham will be a new food-centric competition called the Birmingham Burger in the fall. This event will award the best hamburger award to one of the local restaurants based upon community voting over a two-week period. Visit as many local restaurants from October 14-27 to enjoy the creative variety of burgers in town.
Events and activities are a major attraction for downtown Birmingham, but they are not as easy as one might think to pull together. It takes a team effort of both staff and volunteers. Ideas and planning of these events start at the Special Events Committee volunteer level of the BSD that meet monthly. From there, events are further developed by staff and approved by the BSD Board. When it comes to event day, it is all hands on deck, and we need more volunteers from the community to help to fully execute these well. Some events need as many as 20-30 volunteers! I encourage those who are interested in making a difference in your community, whether a resident, student, business owner or employee, to inquire about the opportunities with the BSD.
Nationally, volunteerism has waned during and post-COVID, but studies show it has been shifting for the last decade. The shift follows the digital growth in society, with volunteers seeking remote and immediate opportunities and results. However, there is now a growing return to forward-facing volunteerism at community events and activities as people are craving social interaction. The BSD offers just that – the opportunity to connect with fellow community and business members. Volunteering, whether for the BSD or another local organization, is vastly important to not only sustain, but grow the quality of life in Birmingham. The BSD continues to seek volunteers for its committees, day-to-day operations and events. To learn more, visit allinbirmingham.com/about/bsd_committees.
There is much more to look forward to in 2024 from downtown Birmingham and the BSD, but I also want to recognize the accomplishments of this past year, including the many new businesses who have joined our downtown community. If you haven’t already, plan to visit and welcome the following to your community: ROWAN, The Good Day, Steps MI, The Taco Stand Taquerie, CB2, Chrysalis Couture, RH, Via Manzoni, Radiant Made for US, Sugaring NYC, Face Foundrie, RenU Acupuncture, Massage Rain, Roche Salon, Community Unity Bank, Salon Toro, F&M Bank, Art of Foot & Ankle, City Ventures, and Icon Anti-Aging & Aesthetics.
May your 2024 be bright and prosperous! For more information on the events and businesses within the BSD, visit www.allinbirmingham.com.
Cristina Sheppard-Decius, CMSM, is the BSD Executive Director.