First Wednesday events are ending, but Whittall says quarterly Wine Walks, other regular events will make up the difference
JEFFERSON JOHNSON | Staff Writer
Although Cedar Springs Merchant Association is ending its monthly First Wednesday parties, CSMA President Scott Whittall, co-owner of Buli, said this week a calendar of quarterly Wine Walks and monthly events have taken effect.
“We changed our First Wednesday event to a quarterly event for 2011,” Whittall said about one of the first obvious changes taking effect this year.
Every wine walk will feature a new $5 commemorative glass for guests to take into participating stores to mingle, browse and shop, with the wine offered compliments of the individual stores.
Whittall says it’s also a great way for customers to meet and greet the owners.
By selling commemorative glasses, CSMA hopes to make some money back, which accounts for the cost of the glasses. Proceeds will also help fund future events, plus the glasses will give wine walks a sense of occasion, he said.
Whittall said that even though the Cedar Springs Arts Festivals in both 2009 and 2010 failed to reach their fundraising goals, the spring festival will return this year.
This time, Whittall said, organizers know what pitfalls to watch for, what to do and what not to do.
“We hope to have more than 100 artists and vendors,” Whittall said, compared to last year’s 70 or so.
Whittall said CSMA is known for its interesting fundraising events, like underwear auctions, and for throwing a great street party.
“We’re always racking our brains to come up with some new and exciting fundraisers,” like the Super Street Party the association is holding on Cedar Springs during Super Bowl weekend next month.
The Super Party, sponsored by Bud Light, is one of the larger events CSMA has planed, Whittall said. He said it will be similar to the annual Pride parade, but with a football twist.
Whittall also stressed that the event is not affiliated with the National Football League in any way, but that he hopes it will draw out-of-towners to the area and help spotlight Cedar Springs.
The purpose of all the CSMA events, Whittall said, is to have fun while raising funds to benefit and help beautify the gayborhood.
The bars and merchants along the Cedar Springs strip are faring well, Whittall said. But, he added, “Cedar Springs is not immune to the economic climate.
Whittall said that times have changed over the last 30 years and that Cedar Springs needs the support of the community to survive and thrive. The more support they get, the more money will be available for events and projects.
“Unfortunately, money is everything,” said Whittall. “It’s hard to go out and raise funds.”
He said CSMA’s solution is to give donors something — like a wine walk or an arts festival — in return, as opposed to simply asking for a donation. More importantly, he added, donations to CSMA come back to the community in several forms.
CSMA uses funds collected to build streetlights for more safety, to improve signage and sidewalks, among other planned improvements, he said.
“The big message here is support,” said Whittall. “It’s the heart of the gay community of Dallas, and we are dedicated to keeping it just that.
“Everybody here is committed to seeing Cedar Springs be here another 30 years,” Whittall concluded. “But we need help. We need everybody’s support to make sure that does happen.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2001.