It's difficult to start any story about an event in Kalamazoo without making referencing to how 2020 is different thus inching into hackneyed cliche territory. We all understand this year is different. Having said that, after all the cancellations of community events since March, organizers, especially business related groups have been scrambling to come up with safe alternatives that still give struggling businesses a fighting chance to make some income, especially this coming holiday season.

Thus, was born the Outdoor Social District a few months ago, and along those same lines comes this year's KalamaTopia, a three time event (2014. 2015 and 2018) that has been re-imagined for this year.. With the Holiday Parade downtown cancelled, downtown business leaders and others have been scrambling to find another way to bring people into downtown Kalamazoo. Will this do that? Well, KalamaTopia is a Friday happy-hour party, but with shopping opportunities, too.

For 2020, KalamaTopia is on (Friday) November 13th, from 5pm to 8:30p and will be on the north Kalamazoo Mall, from Michigan Avenue to Eleanor Street. Burdick's is right there, but this is supposed to be an outdoor celebration, so look for heated tents, and there's already trees that look ready for Christmas. And organizer say "KalamaTopia gives locals the opportunity to get a head start on their holiday shopping, while enjoying a drink of choice".

Some twenty-five vendor are lined up to participate. It's all outdoors, and given that it'll be almost mid November for this event, you'll want to be dressed warmly, but...it's a chance to get out. It's a chance to find something unique in a year where you may not be seeing a lot of family at the holiday. But nothing says you can't send one really unique gift.

And nothing says you can't have fun. The pandemic has been a grind. All the usual CDC rules will be in place, but as long as everyone plays nice and is careful, there's a lot of desire to get out and do something. This just might be it.

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