FAIRMONT — In an attempt to promote local businesses while maintaining social distancing, Main Street Fairmont has developed a contest residents can participate in without leaving their cars.
The contest is called Drive for 25, and challenges motorists to photograph different subjects and send in for the chance to win $25 gift certificates to some of Fairmont’s small businesses.
“We posted 11 landmarks, past and present, from the Fairmont area, and had people send us pictures of them,” said Tim Liebrecht, executive director of Main Street Fairmont. “The two things we want it to do are drive additional traffic downtown... And then we’re supporting businesses.”
According to Brenda Giannis, president of Main Street Fairmont’s board of directors, the idea for the contest came from the need business owners had to not only stay afloat through the pandemic, but reopen once restrictions were lifted. An anonymous donor helped the downtown development nonprofit fund the gift certificates, and so the contest was born.
“They’re all just really thrilled that we’re doing this,” Giannis said. “I talked to the ones that were open at this point, and they were all willing to be a part of our little contest.”
Each week for 10 weeks, Main Street will post instructions on its website giving contestants hints for photo subjects. Liebrecht said the organization developed it so people could get most of the pictures from their cars and remain safe.
“We created it so that people could maintain social distancing and the recommendations coming down from our state officials,” Liebrecht said. “We want to make sure that we’re complying with those things, but we also recognize the importance of downtown businesses.”
Once the photo submissions are closed for the week, the names of people who submitted will go into a drawing for a gift certificate to a Fairmont business.
“People can drive downtown, take photos of whatever they need to find that week,” Giannis said. “Whoever gets the answers correctly, their names will go into a drawing and we will draw a winner every week for a gift certificate from one of our local businesses.”
This week’s instructions tell contestants to find the number of buildings in the Business District that have an address that ends in “1.” The coming weeks will have different instructions, Liebrecht said.
Giannis said the contest give participants a reason to look around town, and possibly discover new stores or sights they have not seen before.
“We thought we would do something to help our local businesses and promote some fun and get people to drive downtown,” Giannis said. “Some people don’t even know what is downtown if they haven’t been there for a while.”
Liebrecht said with the decline in business traffic the pandemic has caused, starting this contest was a good way to bring attention back to the businesses affected. He said he is looking forward to hearing from people entering the contest.
“We think it will do something at least,” Liebrecht said. “In our opinion, something is always better than nothing.”
For more information on Main Street’s Drive for 25 contest, visit its website at mainstreetfairmont.org.