El Reno, Oklahoma was established in the late 1800's around the Rock Island Line Railroad. For years the downtown was a bustling center of commerce for not only El Reno, but the surrounding towns. In 1980, Rock Island filed bankruptcy and malls became the place to be. One by one the beloved shops closed. In 1988 the El Reno Main Street Program began the effort to preserve, revitalize and restore downtown to its former glory. The next year, they created an event called El Reno Onion Fried Burger Day featuring a world record 850 lb. onion burger! This and other annual events like Spooktackular and Christmas on the Western Frontier bring tourists and locals alike to the center of town. With no city funding, the board and the executive director work tirelessly to market the downtown district in a way that draws a generation of online shoppers to a brick and mortar district. In the last few years, they have done just that! A variety of young entrepreneurs have seen the value of investing in El Reno. They have added new clothing boutiques, antiques stores, restaurants, salons and most recently a bakery to our landscape. However, there are still empty storefronts to fill. A grant would assist the program as they create destination districts within the already established downtown. The first district is appropriately named "The Rock" after the former rail line. Main Street has coined the phrase "Shop the Rock" in their marketing materials encouraging downtown shopping. "Lollies (Ladies who trolley) Night" is their next big event. It features riding the only rail-based trolley in Oklahoma while participating in a poker run style shopping excursion. How fun is that?! In El Reno we honor our history while looking forward to our future!