The Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, is Hamilton’s latest economic development tool.

More businesses joining monthly Alive After 5

The theme of this month’s event will be the 1990s, and disc jockeys on both the High Street and Main Street sides of the Great Miami River will be spinning tunes from that decade.

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Inclusion of Main Street “is going to be a permanent thing,” said Sara Vallandingham, owner of Sara’s House, a home decor, gifts, repurposed furniture and lamp store. “We did kind-of a trial run in July, and it went over really well.”

A committee met and business owners “made sure we had all our ducks in a row,” she said. “And we decided, ‘Hey, let’s join forces all the time.’”

The family-friendly event, which is part “shop hop” and part street festival, runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month.

Hamilton’s Alive After 5 is designed to draw people back to the city’s core after the have clocked out from work.

“When we first started Alive After 5, there really wasn’t much going on in general, but there really wasn’t much on Main Street at all,” Vallandingham said. “As Main Street has built up, now we can extend a great event across the bridge.”

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With Hamilton’s Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area having launched this season, people seem more open to strolling around the two business districts, she said. The DORA program allows people to carry around alcoholic beverages within designated areas of both districts.

The True West Coffee shop will transform itself into “Central Perk,” the gathering space of the television show “Friends,” which was a big hit during the 1990s. Artspace Hamilton lofts (222 High St.) will host a 1990s dance party during the event.

“I think all of our shops represent the growth and the exciting things happening in Hamilton,” Vallandingham said. “I think our patrons, they’re going probably to both sides anyway, just not at the same time. So why not, on this one night, when we are celebrating downtown, and people are out, and they are walking, why not make it an even better event?”

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