ISHPEMING - The Ishpeming Business Association is hosting its annual Ladies Night Out from 2 to 8 p.m. today.
Included will be live music at the Butler Theater and a bazaar at Rollie's Furniture featuring three dozen local artists, crafters and vendors, according to IBA member and Ladies Night organizer David Aeh. In addition to the bazaar, Aeh said 18 businesses will be open and having specials, prizes, drawings and demonstrations.
Attendees can pick up an IBA punch card at any participating business and be entered into a drawing to win prizes. There will also be in-house drawings at some individual businesses, as well as in-store specials and prizes.
Aeh said that the emphasis is on just getting out in the community and having a good time with friends and family.
"The best part is that people don't have to buy a thing," he said. "I had a young lady come in and said, 'I'm on a bare budget, I don't have a lot of spare cash,' and I said it doesn't matter. It's an evening to get out, it's an evening to come by yourself, maybe with a coworker, maybe with a girlfriend, maybe with a family member ... it's a great time to get out and have some fun."
Currently in the fifth or sixth year of its modern incarnation, Aeh said that Ishpeming's Ladies Night is a long-standing tradition.
"Back in the day it was called a 'Hunting Widows Ladies Night Out' - which sounded sort of harsh, this whole 'widow' concept," he said.
Since revitalizing the event, Aeh and other IBA members have focused on coordinating with Marquette - which hosts its own Ladies Night - as well as with the calendar. Previously, both Ishpeming and Marquette's events were held on the same day, Aeh said, but now he and other members of the IBA work with those in charge of organizing Marquette's event to ensure that they don't interfere.
The results have been a resounding success.
"I've had as many as around a couple thousand ladies and a few gentleman come through my business on Ladies Night," Aeh said.
He said the event is a perfect way to support local small business owners.
"This is sort of a continuation of that idea that you can shop local, support your small mom and pop local businesses, support local artists and artisans and crafters and small business people," he said. "So it's a nice event and it's a way for us as a business community to showcase what we have to offer, the personal service, the attention to detail, all those sort of things that you don't necessarily get at the big box store."
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.