MAIN STREET — Top hats and monocles are not required to participate in the inaugural Mainopoly fundraiser but organizers are hoping to see a few Monopoly-themed costumes strolling along the sidewalk on May 25.
The event is a self-guided restaurants walk featuring 19 eateries along Main Street. Participants will receive 20 tasting tickets good for a sample at each participating location and all money raised by the event will go to support Heal The Bay via the annual Summer Soulstice event.
Gary Gordon, executive director of the Main Street Business Improvement Association, said there had been discussion of a “taste of Main Street” event for a while but the idea really gained motivation, and a theme, when businesses were brainstorming ways to fund the annual Summer Soulstice to aid Heal The Bay.
“We’ve been working on producing our 14th annual Summer Soulstice and funding it is always a challenge, fundraising is always tough,” he said. “It evolved at one of our event committee meetings that maybe if we could do a pub crawl or a taste of main, we could use that as a fundraiser.”
Gordon said the event would be the first of its kind to specifically feature the diversity of restaurants available on Main Street and he brought in Spin, a public relations company, to help organize the event. The company has experience with fundraising events, having organized the annual Santa Monica Pub Crawl for the past five years. Spin President Kim Koury said they have raised more than $75,000 at the crawl and said she hoped for similar success on Main Street.
Koury said participating restaurants will offer drink specials during the event but that Mainopoly differs from a pub crawl in that it really focuses on the diversity of food options available and in its goal of bringing the community together.
“This event is really made as a community event to bring people out to experience the culinary theme on Main Street,” she said. “We want to introduce people to different restaurants, chefs, to get them to try the food. At places that they may not have been before.”
She said the event route, walking between Pier Avenue and Bay Street, will give participants a chance to see the local businesses and take in the atmosphere.
“We’re going to have some decorations, oversized game pieces, and a go to jail area with a photo booth, water, snacks,” she said. “You can go and take some pictures in jail. It will be fun.”
Gordon said the walking nature of the event would be a boon to everyone on Main Street.
“Anything that brings people to the street and exposes them to what’s on the street, dining, shopping, the fact that it’s different from anywhere else, the fact that it’s fun, anything we do along those lines is good for the district,” he said.
Organizers said they were already hoping to make it an annual celebration.
“When this is successful next weekend, it could become an annual event preceding the Soulstice event as a fundraiser and as a way to feature the restaurants. We’re already working on improvements,” said Gordon
Participating businesses include: Enterprise Fish Co. (Check-in Location 2-5 p.m.), Tsukiji Sushi Sen, Rick’s Tavern, Areal, Finn McCool’s, Panini Garden, Lula Cocina, Mexicana, 3 Twins Ice Cream, Sunny Blue, Basement Tavern at The Victorian (official after party, 8 p.m.-close), Manchego, The Galley, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Pressed Juicery , RAWvolution, Kafe K, Beyond 02, M Street Kitchen and Stella Barra. There will be a “jail” located at 220 Fitness and organizers said participants will be able to send friends directly to jail in exchange for a donation.
Participants that visit each location will be entered in a Main Street prize pack with gift certificates to local businesses. Tickets are available online for $25 (plus a handling fee) online or for $35 at the day of the event.