Group lures shoppers with bargain child care

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Main Street Steamboat is offering parents bargain child care for three hours Thursday evening in an effort to make it easy for people to shop and dine downtown during the holiday season.

Main Street's Izabela Banas said the $2 "Kids Night Out" at the United Methodist Church, Eighth and Oak streets, will serve as this month's "Third Thursday" promotion. Banas, who leads Main Street's promotions committee, said she hopes parents will take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy strolling carolers and the holiday lights and window displays while shopping or dining. In the meantime, their children will be under the supervision of a certified teacher and group of local high school students.

"Many people travel thousands of miles to experience the holiday spirit so prevalent in our town," Banas said. "The sounds of Emerald City Opera singers caroling, the beauty of trees and wreaths lit up -- Main Street will charm you."

Shoppers and strollers will find live music and special offers at many downtown establishments Thursday night, Banas said.

Main Street Executive Director Tracy Barnett said Betsy Packer, who is a certified middle school teacher with a CPR and medic first aid certification, will oversee child care from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Methodist church. The teacher will work with students who will help to take care of the youngsters.

The $2 fee covers the cost of pizza and treats. There also will be games and videos for the children to enjoy.

Main Street will have access to the main child care room and the toddler room at the church. However, parents should not bring infants to Kids Night Out, Banas said.

Main Street Steamboat is a group with the goal of reinvigorating the commercial district defined by Yampa and Oak streets sandwiching Lincoln Avenue. It's affiliated with a nationally established program.

Third Thursday was inspired by the Main Street program in Montrose. It's an effort to achieve Main Street's goal of encouraging residents to visit downtown more frequently.

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