Earlier this year, Mike Hynes, the owner of Molly Spillane's on Mamaroneck Avenue, approached the Chamber of Commerce looking to organize some sort of block party on the street that would draw business to the area. At that same meeting, Ellen Hauptman and Peggy Jackson, members of the "Keep aBreast" team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, asked the Chamber to consider ways to help raise money for cancer research.
Faster than you could say "block party," Hynes met with the two women and came up with an idea: Mamaroneck Shares, three events in the summer (June 24, July 29 and August 19) designed to bring people into the village and help local charities at the same time.
"We were looking to do some sort of restaurant night in the village where the proceeds would support the charity, and before we could propose it, Mike talked about his idea to bring people in to help businesses," Hauptman said. "Mike had helped us before and we knew he had a heart of gold. The three of us spoke afterwards and decided on this idea that would support local charities."
The three charities that Mamaroneck Shares will raise money for are Community Action Program, Community Counseling Center and Keep aBreast.
"They were looking to do a fundraiser and I was looking to do a block party, so we basically combined the two so we are helping local charities and local merchants," said Hynes. "The general idea of the whole thing is to have the local residents enjoy their local merchants and make some money to help others."
For all three events, Mamaroneck Avenue will be turned into a pedestrian mall from Spencer to Prospect starting at 7 p.m. All local businesses have been invited to attend (even those not on Mamaroneck Avenue), and many have planned exciting events and demonstrations.
"For our first night, we know there will be a minimum of three bands playing and it kind of worked out beautifully where one is at the beginning of the street, one in the middle and one at the end," Haupman said. "There will be clowns coming to do face painting, henna tattoos, and the streets will be very lively."
Fred Astaire Dance Studio will be offering free dance lessons on the avenue; Village Pizza will be teaching pizza-making for the kids; and there will even be a Karate demonstration performed.
"Everyone can do their own unique presentation on that night," Hynes said. "We encourage everyone to show their wares, and whether they are a bank, a restaurant or a tie store, they are all very excited about taking part."
A raffle will be held on each night, with the first one offering such big-ticket items as diamond earrings, two JetBlue tickets, a mountain bike, a mother/daughter day at American Girl and lots of other things from local merchants.
The theme for Thursday night's kick-off event is "Hair We Come," a hair dying/head shaving fest where businesses can nominate one person from their staff or office to have their hair dyed a fun color or shaved completely. The next two events will be "Come Out and Play" and "Paint the Town Pink."
"Our second night, Mayor Norm Rosenblum has graciously volunteered to man a 'Dunk the Mayor' booth," Hauptman said. "We are also looking into holding stick ball games and possibly bingo. We have to see what works and what doesn't, but the goal is to make this an annual event."
For the concluding night in August, expect a lot of pink as children will be invited by local merchants to paint store windows and it's expected that a pink line will run down the avenue to help create awareness.
Money will be raised from the big raffle, sponsors and donations.
"Molly Spillane's and Vincent's Garage have set the bar, with each pledging a generous $2,000, along with Village Pizza pledging $1,000," Hauptman said.
"Mamaroneck has become an intimate location for a lot of Westchester. It's a friendly village and that's why we want to give everyone a chance to participate," Hynes said. "I think it's a great showcase for everyone. We'll be helping a lot of charities in the process."