Students, community members beef up business

By Gus Bode

More than 1,000 students and community members flocked to the Recreation Center yesterday for the seventh annual Meet Me on Main Street event.

Roughly 20 businesses from Main Street set up booths with information and gave away coupons and free food to whomever could push their way through the crowd. An inflatable bungee run and a rock-climbing wall challenged students as well as an ongoing tournament of bags.

Prizes were also up for grabs, including $100 in cash, gift certificates from the surrounding businesses and roundtrip Amtrak tickets to Chicago.


Meghan Cole, executive director for Carbondale Main Street, said it has been a very positive event in the past. This is her third year working with Main Street to organize the event, which cost around $2,000, she said.

‘Students have enjoyed it and we enjoy putting it on,’ Cole said. ‘We feel it’s a valuable investment because students are obviously a valuable part of the Carbondale community and the Carbondale business community as well.’

Guided tours of downtown were offered on the student trams with upperclassman describing the Main Street area.

‘You also get different peoples’ opinions and other students’ insights on where to get the best coffee and things like that,’ Cole said. ‘It’s really great for freshmen or new students who don’t have cars.’

In addition to the guided tours, The Bike Surgeon sponsored a bicycle stunt demo and Attitude Designs gave out free T-shirts. Free food and drinks were also provided by the Recreation Center and other businesses.

Cole said the businesses had the advantage of being the first to approach new students and show them they have a valued product or service. She said students are an important part of business in Carbondale.

A local band, The Sam West Trio, provided musical entertainment for the event and played a wide range of genres including fusion, jazz and soul.


‘We are happy to be a part of it,’ said Sam West, vocalist of the Trio. ‘We’re looking forward to people dancin’ and groovin’.’

Julia Mangler, a freshman from Crystal Lake studying business, said she came mostly for the free giveaways.

‘The free stuff is cool, and you get to meet people and you learn about the town,’ she said.

Erin Holcomb can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 255 or [email protected].