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Nordby: Events create sense of community, memories
Jordan Nordby
Jordan Nordby

Main Street Monroe has just unveiled our fall and winter calendar of events. Please excuse me for mentioning winter, but it’s hard not to be excited about what’s to come, and there is something about fall that evokes nostalgia for me. 

Upcoming events range from a special “fall fest” on Oct. 19 during the farmers market and our annual Trunk or Treat and Halloween Parade to various events celebrating the holidays. If you take a closer look at the calendar of events you will notice something noteworthy: Virtually everything is free to attend. And that is very purposefully done. 

In fact, only one event on our calendar charges admission: First Thursday Wine Walk on Nov. 7. Ticket sales help pay for the actual wine and the remaining sales go back into Main Street Monroe to fund other events. The wine walk, along with event sponsorships and corporate and personal donations, allows us to do everything else in our organization. 

Main Street Monroe is one of the organizations to which the city allocates annual funds and all of the properties in the business improvement district that are not solely residential pay an additional tax. A board of property owners then allocates this additional tax to us. All of these funds are leveraged to maximize efforts. I wrote in a previous column about the four pillars of the Main Street program: Design, Economic Revitalization, Events and Promotions, and Organization. Organization is tasked with volunteer development and fundraising. 

What does your donation to Main Street Monroe exactly fund?

In short, it helps fund everything we do as a program, both the tangible and intangible. Events funded through donations range from the Lighted Christmas Parade and the summer theme (like Musical Chairs on the Square) to Trunk or Treat and the SNAP double dollars program at the farmer’s market. Over the past three years, Main Street, through donations and grants, has invested thousands of dollars into downtown Christmas decorations, purchased new signage to better connect downtown to the bicycle trails, installed two murals, and created Project Pop Up. The Project Pop up program enables us to help local entrepreneurs open a downtown business by covering rent and providing tangible training related to staffing, window displays, marketing, and merchandise.

Just as remarkable are the intangible ways that donations to Main Street Monroe help our community. Per the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Main Street Monroe volunteers have donated $15,865 worth of actual volunteer hours just through August in 2019. Thanks to dozens and dozens of volunteers, that number will continue to grow through the remaining months of the year. These volunteers coordinate Trunk or Treat, where any and all families may come down and enjoy a safe and secure way to celebrate Halloween. They also organize the annual Lighted Christmas Parade. While a parade may seem commonplace, it achieves many purposes. 

It is an opportunity for a high school student to join his or her bandmates in a visible role in their community, it creates an chance for a new business to participate and become part of the community, it creates an opportunity for a fellow nonprofit to better promote its mission, and it creates a night of memories for all. And that is why it is so important for us as an organization to continue providing as many free and accessible events as possible. Within these events we are reminded of the commitment to community and the memories and opportunities that come with it. 

That nostalgia I feel in the fall? Every year I’m reminded of my own band experiences in high school, my first volunteer efforts as a teenager, and trick or treating with my neighbors and I look forward to giving another generation the same great memories.

Donations to Main Street Monroe, Inc. are tax deductible. To find out more, give us a call at 608-328-4023 or email

— Jordan Nordby is the executive director for Main Street Monroe. He can be reached at