Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Parade - March 22

Officially St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, but in the City of Harrisburg we celebrate for two weekends.  The Capital Region Association of Irish and Celts (CRAIC) invites visitors and residents to celebrate the luck of the Irish this Saturday, March 22nd, during the Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.  The Parade will take place in downtown and features over 90 organizations showing off their Irish spirit, stepping off at 2 pm. (Map of the Parade Route) (The parade has a long history of working with the city of York; York celebrates the parade on the weekend of/prior to St. Pat's, while Harrisburg celebrates after)
The CRAIC, formerly the Harrisburg St Patrick's Day Parade Association, has gone through some changes over the last year.  A name change as well as increased focus has brought a renewed energy to this organization.  CRAIC is now a year-round resource for students, educators, and parents.  They provide opportunities to engage in ongoing cultural, educational, religious, historical, economic, and political issues of heritage in the Central Pennsylvania area.
Come downtown on Saturday, enjoy the parade and show off your Irish pride (everyone is Irish on parade day!)  Three Irish pubs are located in downtown - Ceolta's, McGrath's and Molly Brannigan's.  All three will be open early Saturday morning offering Irish breakfast as well as great drink specials.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gridiron Gala Weekend

A few years ago I was introduced to a local organization that has been making a huge impact in rare disease research through partnerships with colleges and universities throughout the country.  As the state capital, Harrisburg is home to many headquarters of state organizations and yet we are so fortunate to also be home to the national headquarters of Uplifting Athletes. 
Uplifting Athletes is an non-profit organization that began in a Penn State University dorm room in 2003.  My friend, Scott Shirley, and his fellow Penn State football teammates founded Uplifting Athletes after the passing of Scott's father due to a rare disease.  The group banded together in an effort to raise money to help benefit research for kidney cancer. Scott's passion for this organization is contagious.  So contagious in fact, that over 20 colleges and universities have joined in the fight against rare diseases, each school choosing their own rare disease to focus on and raise funds for.
This weekend Uplifting Athletes will host the 3rd Annual Gridiron Gala at the State Museum of Pennsylvania on Saturday, March 8 from 7 to 10 pm.  Attendees will hear the story of how Uplifting Athletes began and be inspired to do their part to help fight rare diseases and raise money for research and education. The event also features tailgate style food, entertainment as well as an awesome silent auction. This event is one of my favorites each year.  It is so impressive to see where this group began and how far it has come to be touching lives all over the country.  If you are interested in attending this event, tickets are still available.  Please reach out to Becky Mayes at for more information.  If you can't make the Gridiron Gala, but would like to donate to a great cause, visit and click on donate.  Together we can White Out Rare Diseases!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What we do....

Wow! My apologies.  We have taken quite a long break from blogging.  It is my hope to make a full recovery and start blogging each week moving forward.  This week I would like to bring you up to speed on what it is that the Downtown Improvement District does and explain the territory that we cover.
So what does the Downtown Improvement District do and how does it function?  The DID is a 501 c3 non profit organization that covers a specific territory within downtown.  It is an approximately 25 block area covering the central business district. Our core mission is based on three items: Clean, Safe, & Beautiful.  We provide cleaning services 7 days a week within the coverage area by a subcontracted cleaning crew to supplement the City's existing services. The DID crew sweeps the sidewalks, curbs, removes graffiti & posters/flyers on light poles, provides power washing on the sidewalks (during summer months), picks up liter, as well as several other cleaning related tasks. 
For the past several years, we have also provided additional safety resources to the territory.  A 2-man safety team walks around the territory during warmer months, reporting light outages, broken curbs, downed signs, as well as helps pedestrians with directions or any safety related issues they may have.  As part of the Safety aspect of the mission, we report light outages to the city and most recently, partnered with Harristown Enterprises to replace/repair 38 streetlights downtown. 
Another aspect of our mission is beautification projects.  Each year we purchase hundreds of hanging and potted flower baskets to line the streets of downtown.  The pots typically are hung in May and taken down in October.  The flowers are watered and maintained 7 days a week. We have planted/replaced trees throughout the territory to help create a green environment for visitors and residents alike. Throughout the years of service to the downtown, we have made several donations to the city in regards to beautification.  For example, the snow flake lights that are hung on the light poles during holiday months, were a donation from the DID. 
While clean, safe, and beautiful are our core focuses, the DID provides additional services to the community.  We produce an e-newsletter that goes out each week promoting events happening primarily downtown (and also within the city).  We operate a large LED message board in Market Square (on the M&T Bank Bldg) listing upcoming events.  We post upcoming events on our website as well on social media outlets.  We try to encourage visitors and residents to frequent downtown. We are also responsible for the creation and execution of Harrisburg Restaurant Week (2 weeks).  Entering the 7th year, the event continues to grow and showcase downtown restaurants as premier dining experiences.
Although a brief explanation, this covers what the DID does in a nutshell.  If you were to review what other DIDs, BIDs, NIDs do, you will find that the services provided vary depending on the needs of the community.
Have more questions about the DID... feel free to contact us!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

D.I.D. You Know....

When you drive through downtown each morning on your way to work, you're probably more concerned with keeping your eyes on the traffic around you, the song on the radio and maybe checking your hair to ensure you look good before you head into the office.  But if you've ever looked up, you will notice the light poles are full of vibrant banners displaying the Downtown Improvement District's motto... Live Work Shop Dine Play. The banners have become one of the most recognizable projects that the Downtown Improvement District has done over the last several years, includint the Hometown Heroes Banners, the Susquecentennial Banners and most recently the Live Work Shop Dine Play banners.  So as your drive or walk through downtown, look up and admire the great banners highlighting some of downtown's best qualities.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Friday Night Downtown - January 18

Stepping out on a Friday night in Downtown Harrisburg is always an adventure.  Friday the 18th was no exception.  I headed to Federal Taphouse, Restaurant Row’s latest addition, with my roommate. It was packed, which I didn’t mind because I always like to see downtown businesses busy. The atmosphere was one that I didn’t expect to see in the city. It’s casual and comfortable and there is lots of space inside the Taphouse.  After about a 10 minute wait, we were seated and I had a perfect view of the kitchen as well as plenty of full tables – couples and families, friends and coworkers. With a large chalkboard wall listing all the beers on tap, it was time to make a selection.  I’m not a big beer drinker, so I tried the WoodChuck Pear. Yummy! Both my roommate and I decided to go with Brick Oven Pizzas.  I tried the Margherita pizza while roomie tried the 4 cheese pizza.  Both were delicious and came out rather quickly. For as busy as it was, our service was quite good and our waiter was friendly and entertaining.  I’ll definitely be visiting Federal Taphouse again!
Roomie & I with Caroline Rhea

Caroline Rhea on Stage
Margherita Pizza from Taphouse

Following dinner, we strolled right next door to 2nd Street Comedy Club.  We had tickets to see Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda… for those of you who don’t remember the show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I’m referring to Caroline Rhea.  We arrived around 8:30 pm for the 9 pm show. Thank goodness, because the room was already packed and seating was limited.  I think they oversold the show because several people had to stand the entire time.  The room is small and simple and while I appreciate that you need to have a bar close by, it did become quite a disturbance throughout the show while you’re trying to listen and all you hear is bartenders shaking up ice in drinks.  Caroline even pointed it out multiple times which was a funny addition to her performance. The show lasted right up until her next performance at 10:30 pm, maybe even a little longer.  For my first time at the club, I’m so happy I got to see her perform. She was great.  Will I go back? Of course. It was a neat experience and definitely something new and different.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Save Sports for Harrisburg's Youth

Join the Harrisburg Young Professionals this Saturday as they raise funds to 'Save Sports for Harrisburg's Youth'.  Due to state budget cuts, Harrisburg School District children will be required to pay to participate in school sports, so all of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Harrisburg School Foundation to save sports in Harrisburg this coming year.  HYP will host a block party from 7 to 10 pm on Saturday, July 14th.  Tickets are $20.  There will be plenty of hot dogs for all and HYP will be providing draft beers.  The event will take place on Walnut Street between Front & Second Streets.  Show your support for the youth of Harrisburg!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spotlighting Downtown Businesses

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting one restaurant and one business in our weekly e-newsletter. Two weeks ago we featured: Muncheese and Bogey's Corner. This past week we featured: Arooga's and Downtown News.
If you didn't get a chance to read either of the newsletters, here is what you missed...
Muncheese, located at the corner of 2nd and Locust Street, has been making quite a name for itself. What is Muncheese, you ask? It's a souped up Grilled Cheese hot spot! They offer a wide array of grilled cheese sandwich combinations along with soup, chips and fries. They even stay open late on Friday and Saturday night to accomadate the late night "muncheese".
Muncheese, 200 N. 2nd Street, 717.233.1344
Mon, Tues, Wed : 10 am to 5 pm
Thurs, Fri, Sat : 10 am to 3 am

As Gayle and I were walking through the district, we stopped by Bogey's Corner Unique Pup-tique and had a great shopping experience. We were greated by Martini and Bogey (the yorkie pups that help their mom run the store) at the door. We walked back through The Gallery at Walnut Place to a back room filled with dog "stuff". From toys to pea coats and rain coats to treats and sundresses and jerseys, Bogey's has everything to help your dog look stylin'. Jan (the store owner) will help you find something perfect for your furry friends. I left with treats, green St. Patrick's day bows for my baby girl, Morgan (my shitzu) and two Steelers jerseys for Morgan and Molson (my lhasa apso). Martini and Bogey loved the company and were thankful for our visit. Stop by and see Jan and "the kids".
Bogey's Corner Unique Pup-tique, 413 Walnut Street, 717.233.0487

This past week we featured our new kid on the block, Arooga's!
Arooga's Draft House and Sports Bar is now open (at the corner of 2nd and Locust where Spice used to be and across the street from Muncheese). The draft house is part of the Arooga's family that became an overnight sensation in the Central PA region with locations on 22, 11-15, 39 and now downtown. Arooga's is a sports fan's heaven with tv's everywhere and great drink specials. As March Madness continues, you will definitely want to stop by and catch a game at here.
Arooga's Draft House & Sports Bar, 201 N. 2nd Street, 717.901.TAPS

Downtown News was our retail focus of last week's newsletter. Downtown News is a unique fix on Second Street. They offer everyting and anything from chips & cookies to magazines and cigarettes and gum. They're also open late night. If you need a pack of gum or a quick snack, Downtown News is the place to stop. Stop by and say Hello!
Downtown News, 29 N. 2nd Street, 717.232.1100

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter and you'll be up to date on downtown events, shopping and dining. Visit our website at!

Happy Monday!