Just a few blocks from the Grand Central District, where St. Pete Pride will be held this weekend, is another blooming entertainment and business district called the EDGE District. EDGE, an acronym standing for Entertainment, Dining, Galleries, Etc., is comprised of over 60 bars, restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, stores, and other businesses who are all committed to each other’s success. The EDGE Business District Association, a not-for-profit, formed to officially represent the best interests of the business owners in the area, and has earned quite a few accolades in just a few short years.
After years of revitalizing the district, the EDGE Business District Association was awarded a Main Street designation by the National Main Street Center last year. What this means is that the Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation recognized the EDGE Association’s efforts to beautify the area and make it a safe, welcoming space for people to shop, eat and drink. They will be hosting the 2015 Florida Main Street Conference in August.The EDGE District puts together quite a few fun events per year and has a contingency plan for everything; after all, there are over 60 meetings a year, averaging to a little over one per week. The EDGE Business District Association and its members can be seen getting involved in other organizations as well, such as the Central Avenue Council, the Arts Alliance, and the Central Avenue Solstice Committee. The Association also organizes various monthly, quarterly and annual events in the district, as well as all events relating to Florida Main Street and their Main Street designation.
The EDGE Business District Association has a $150,000 master plan in the works, which will redevelop parking in the area and will have upkeep of green areas between the streets and sidewalks as a top priority. The Association also offers assistance to small businesses in the organization, to help them grow, and also lobbies for district improvements at the Central Avenue Council and at City Hall.
The EDGE District has become a media darling, having been profiled in depth in the Tampa Bay Times and on Bay News 9, ABC Action News and in Creative Loafing, which named the EDGE District the Best of the Bay Critics’ Pick for the Best Westward Expansion in St. Petersburg. The EDGE District’s social media, which comprises their Facebook and Twitter accounts, recently celebrated one million social media impressions.
The EDGE District has hosted a lot of fun events in the last year, such as Mardi Gras, Jingle Days, Central Avenue Solstice, Folkfest, and the Poker Crawl. The Third Thursdays event, which premiered last November, is currently on hiatus but will return in the fall. That fun monthly get-together combines a pub crawl with exciting giveaways; get a ticket upon entry into the district (free of charge) and you have a chance to win a prize from one of many shops along the avenue.
Three events are coming up this summer in the EDGE District for your enjoyment. First, there will be Pride in the EDGE District on Thursday, June 25. 21 bars and restaurants and an equal number of shops will be participating in this fun shopping day. There will be a pub crawl and discounts for shoppers at various restaurants and shops for people wearing their EDGE District Pride buttons. Pride Buttons are available for purchase at the following businesses: ARTicles, Ashe Couture Boutique, Bodhi Basics, Creative Clay, Edge of 9, Enigma, Furnish Me Vintage, Green Bench, Magnolia Lane Boutique, Milagros, and Plain Jane.
The EDGE District will be hosting the 30th annual Florida Main Street Conference from August 16-19. The theme is “arts and culture on Main Street” and will host presentations, seminars, open houses and speeches by such luminaries as St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. For more information, visit stpetefms.com.
There will also be a District Quarterly Clean-Up. If you haven’t attended this volunteer clean-up event before, you will quickly become acquainted with the District and all of the friendly businessmen and women in the area. If you’re interested in volunteering, meet everyone at the EDGE office at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, August 29. Cleanup will be from 8 to 10 a.m.
For more information on The EDGE Business District Association and The EDGE District’s events, visit edgedistrict.org. Follow them on social media by going to facebook.com/theEDGEstpete and twitter.com/edge_district.