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South Fourth District officially opens for business
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Monday afternoon along the section of South Fourth Street between Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Chestnut Street, the newly christened South Fourth District – or SOFO – officially opened to all with a block party organized by Extraordinary Events from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The retail district was two years in the works between the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation, city leaders, and the retailers who were selected to help revitalize the corridor bookended by the Brown and Seelbach hotels. Twenty retailers were identified as part of the first wave, with nine – Craft(s), Celebrations, Les Filles Louisville, The Leading Man, Block Party Handmade Boutique, Gifthorse, Art Eatables, Regalo and FAF Gallery – signing leases.

Aside from the new blood being brought on-board, Mayor Greg Fischer's office allocated $500,000 from the previous year's budget for streetscape improvements. The Parking Authority of River City (PARC) implemented a special parking plan to allow free parking on dedicated decks if a purchase is made from any of the SOFO retailers as their contribution, while the University of Louisville will install a series of markers focusing on the retail district's history in the civil rights movement.

After Mayor Fischer cut the ribbon with the ceremonial scissors, the festivities were in full swing. King Sonic played their brand of rockabilly while Lite 106.9 had a live remote as shoppers from across the street to the United Arab Emirates visited the seven boutiques open at the party; Craft(s) and FAF Gallery are due to open in the summer. Every guest was given a card to have punched at each retailer visited, which gave cardholders a chance to win a gift package featuring items from all of the retailers in SOFO upon receiving the final punch. Food samples from 240sweet, the Seelbach, Art Eatables and Gordon Biersch were also available.

For more information and updates on future events, you may visit the official SOFO Louisville site at www.sofolouisville.com, as well as follow the retail district on Facebook and Twitter.

Photos: Cameron Miquelon/Louisville.com.

Slideshow: 
Mayor Greg Fischer arrives to the SOFO Block Party with Communications Director Chris Poynter and a serious-looking gentleman in tow.
Elizabeth Kizito of Kizito selling her famous cookies from her little red wagon.
Never too early for a Derby hat.
Bubbles!
One of the many gifts you'll find at the Gifthorse in SOFO.
Les Filles Louisville owner Melissa Willis poses with Mayor Fischer and Councilman Tandy in her shop.
Mayor Fischer speaking with "Big Brother 14" contestant Wil Heuser as the latter makes his Derby fedora in the back of Les Filles Louisville.
Mary Levinsky of Block Party Handmade Boutique talking with a customer. This is Levinsky's first brick-and-mortar shop.
Never mind the construction; just follow the signs.
The Regalo SOFO location has an art exhibit upstairs, currently featuring pieces by Joshua Jenkins.
Jim Williams of The Leading Man brought his store to give SOFO some much needed flavor.
Gentlemen, if you need something for Derby, here's your sign.
Above the Celebrations store in SOFO are apartments.
Fourth Street emptied as time wore on, workers returning to their cubicles and the like.
Art Eatables is the only retailer on the 600 block of SOFO so far.
You can never go wrong with chocolate fleur de lis.
Or his and hers bourbon-infused truffles.
King Sonic rocking the street.
Roasted salted caramel marshmallows from 240sweet, whose goodies are sold at Regalo.
#L1C4.
The stage and the podium are set.
The press is out in full force.
Hilliard Lyons CEO and LDDC Chair Jim Allen opens with his speech.
Mayor Fischer having a confab with an official.
The Mayor's turn at the podium.
The golden ceremonial scissors.
Councilman David Tandy up next on the mic, where he was rudely interrupted by a loud car followed by a UPS jet.
A few more speeches until the cutting of the ribbon.
A streetcar passes behind the festivities.
Stan Lounsbury of Celebrations giving the final speech.
Work continues along Fourth Street, party or no party.
Lisa Cofer of Extraordinary Events presents Mayor Fischer with the ribbon.
Boutique owners come together to help hold the ribbon.
A photo op before making the cut.
At the moment of impact.
The ribbon has been cut.
Heed both signs the next time you're down in SOFO.

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Cameron Miquelon's picture

About Cameron Miquelon

Former fashion writer for Louisville.com, now contributing author for automotive industry blog The Truth About Cars. Born in Louisville, returned 29 years later, left for Seattle in 2013.

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