MERRILL (WAOW) -- Merrill business owners closed down Main Street and opened their doors with special deals, free music and food to celebrate their first downtown block party.
Free music, free food, and free space to roam around. For a community still recovering from April's devastating tornadoes, this was just what the doctor ordered.
"We're here for the community and this is part of it," said Trina Johnson, who owns Johnson Gifts & Home Decor and helped organize the event. "We're enjoying the day together."
Local business owners cooked up the plan to bring people outside in hopes they might wander inside, too.
"Have a little fun for the community. Get people out and show them what Main Street Merrill has to offer," said Jim Becker, who is the manager of Hometown Pharmacy.
Each window showcases special sales and opportunities shoppers can take advantage of.
"Merrill's a really nice place to do business," said Becker. "The customers are great. We get along with them, they're our friends and it's nice to do things with your friends."
But with not strings attached -- you can also just sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of Main Street.
"They play some good music," said Peter Neumann who just moved to Merrill. "I'll get up and dance too sometimes."
With the street blocked off -- one of the only vehicles allowed is a city fire truck. Clowns and fashion shows hit the streets in the afternoon, with more action to follow late into the night. Even with so many options, organizers say the idea is simple -- summer's here to help us relax.
"We've got to sit back and smell the roses every once in a while," said Johnson. "Enjoy the music and each other."
The block party runs until 11 PM on Friday night. To hear more about Merrill and the city's continuing cleanup efforts after April's storms, tune in Friday afternoon at 1 PM for "Merrill Aftermath: A Community Rebuilds."