Main Street Showcase tonight

Published 10:26 am Thursday, December 4, 2008

It sounds like the ideal solution to early-December doldrums: a walking tour of downtown Austin’s refurbished buildings.

Fresh snow on the ground, holiday street decorations and fellowship with fellow citizens inside some of the downtown’s new attractions.

The Austin Main Street Project will host the walking tour of the downtown area 5 to 7 tonight.

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It’s entirely self-guided: Start anytime anywhere among the list of businesses and buildings.

The 11 participating businesses include Granle’s Custom Framing and Art Gallery, Healing Palms, Masonic Temple, Hastings Shoe Service, Mike Flaherty Painting, the historic First National Bank building, Mickey’s, B & J Bar and Grill, South Central Athlete, Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department offices and Rydjor Bike Shop.

The businesses will be open for visiting and provide food and drinks. Most of the owners will be in their buildings to answer questions.

“Passports” stamped at the individual buildings/businesses can then be returned to B & J Bar and Grill by 7 p.m. for entry in a prize drawing. The participating businesses have donated prizes and gift certificates for the occasion.

If there is one sure-fire favorite stopping spot on the tour it will likely be the former First National Bank building at the corner of North Main Street and Second Avenue Northeast, where The Joseph Company’s renovation of the historic building has drawn rave reviews for restoring the original architecture.

Another popular destination on the tour is sure to be the historic Hastings Shoe Service building at the corner of North Main Street and First Avenue Northwest; the latest renovation project to be completed.

Of course, Granle’s Custom Framing and Art Gallery — the former Fantle’s women’s wear store building — is another expected crowd-pleaser.

The tour is sponsored by the Austin Main Street Project, which has embarked on an ambitious program of assisting in the renovation and rehabilitation of downtown properties.

For more details, call Austin Main Street Project Coordinator Sarah Douty at 433-1866.