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First Sunday in Bellefonte to begin Dec. 3

by on November 30, 2017 7:46 AM

BELLEFONTE — Organizers and business owners in Bellefonte are hoping to put feet on the streets and shoppers in stores on the first Sunday in December, and carry on the initiative into 2018.

Already the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County brings in 200 to 300 visitors for its First Sunday activities, according to Lori Fisher, general manager at the museum on North Allegheny Street. Each month the galleries change and it’s an opportunity for patrons to meet the artists and see new offerings.

The museum has been doing First Sundays for about seven years, she said, and the hope for the expanded First Sundays is that those coming from out of town will have a chance to check out the rest of what Bellefonte has to offer when typically many businesses are closed.

A myriad of business owners have already agreed to open their doors an extra day, with the hope that more options will produce a larger draw of people.

“Fifty to 75 percent of the people are from the State College area or outside of Bellefonte,” Fisher said of museum attendees each month. “What our intention was is to give people other things to do.”

Fisher said they hope to continue this throughout 2018 and get more and more people on board.

“It gets people back into Bellefonte and seeing what we see: that Bellefonte is thriving and we are continuing to grow and there are fun things to do,” she said.

The Bellefonte Keystone Community Development Association is partnering with local businesses to make that happen, said Shannon Wright, development coordinator with the borough.

“Our hope is that in the new year we can come up with some really tangible goals to continue that promotion and make people more aware of what Bellefonte has to offer,” Wright said.

Ellen Matis, owner of Hello Social Co. in Bellefonte, echoed those sentiments and said the hope is to attract those who might not be familiar with all of the local offerings.

“I think that a lot of people from out of town, and even some people that live in Bellefonte, have no idea how much downtown Bellefonte has to offer,” she said.

Matis is among the First Sunday organizers and hers is the first business to take up residence in the new incubator that opened earlier this year, Bellefonte SpringBoard.

She said organizers hope to expand the First Sunday activities throughout 2018.

“Nothing is set in stone, but we hope to incorporate entertainment, maybe some live art demonstrations and other activities for adults and kids.”

In the meantime, people can enjoy shopping, entertainment and dining in the seat of Centre County.

Carly Andriaccio, the owner of Bone Bar & Boutique, said that while she enjoys being a retailer in Bellefonte, there are typically just too few shoppers on Sundays. She said she hopes more people in the State College area will know what a gem Bellefonte is and they will see it as a worthwhile trip to make.

“I think if we can change people’s idea about Bellefonte, and get them coming and get them shopping that it would benefit all of the businesses here in town,” Andriaccio said. 

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