Hope & Main, a culinary incubator program that gives food industry start-ups access to kitchen space and industry tools and resources, will be hosting a dual birthday party from 2 to 6pm on October 11. They will be celebrating the first anniversary of their business as well as the centennial of its location, the Main Street School, which they were responsible for renovating using a $2.9 million loan.
The Centennial Celebration will take place in the school at 691 Main Street, Warren, and have an old-timey festival theme featuring live music, square dancing, a Humble Pie Eating Contest, a raffle and a variety of old-fashioned artifacts, games, a photo booth and Carnival-style food. The Centennial Celebration will coincide with the last Schoolyard Market, and will include the farmers and makers market regular fare for the last time of the season.
All alumni of the Main Street School are encouraged to attend for a class reunion, and the Warren Historic Preservation Society will attend to record their memories of the school as part of an oral history project. Interested alumni who submit their yearbook picture, or any photo of the Main Street School by October 9, will receive $20 worth of free raffle tickets.
Hope & Main will use the Centennial Celebration as an opportunity to highlight their success, and Governor Gina Raimondo will attend the festivities from 2 – 6pm to congratulate the organization on its contributions to the state’s economy. Hope & Main has helped launch more than 50 business, adding $1.14 million to the local economy, and created 75 jobs. The celebration also will spotlight the successes of local businesses that have benefited from the resources and technical assistance provided by their program, such Holy Baked Goods, Fox Point Pickling Co. and Essentially Coconut. With Hope & Main’s technical support and resources, Tito’s Cantina has quadrupled production in the last year and launched four new products.
The renovation of the Main Street School is an accomplishment to be celebrated in itself, as the classrooms were preserved, blackboards restored and the hardwood floors were polished, transforming the historic building into a fully equipped and affordable work space.
“When I first saw the building it took real imagination to see the potential for what Hope & Main has now become,“ says Hope & Main President and Founder Lisa Raiola. “At the same time we created state-of-the-art production kitchens for food entrepreneurs, we preserved the school as a community resource where people of all ages can learn about the benefits of healthy eating and local food.”