The Downtown Merchants Association of Alexandria will host a Downtown Wine, Ale & Art Crawl from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16.

Eighteen downtown businesses will open their doors. The crawl begins in Fort Alexandria where participants can pick up wristbands and maps while enjoying a performance by the Johari Tribe Belly dancers.

The crawl stops first inside the Runestone Museum Gift Shop and continues along Broadway Street with wine and ale samples, food pairings and local artist demonstrations and displays, including jewelry, paintings and crafts.

This month’s theme will be the charcuterie board and will be prepared by Garden Bar on 6th. Popular in Europe, the charcuterie board includes cured or smoked meats, tangy pickles, sweet jams, cheese and fruits and is traditionally paired with beer or wine to complement the flavors and textures.

Tickets are available the night of the event or by searching eventful.com.

The Wine, Ale and Art Crawl, spearheaded by Betty Ravnik, is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Alexandria Downtown Merchants Association, whose roots as a business organization date back to the 1860s. It promotes and reinvests in historic downtown Alexandria, a challenge facing many small towns across the country.

“It’s important to showcase our downtown businesses, restaurants and services to keep it vibrant — to encourage people to live and spend locally when they can," said Pam Botker, association president. "Many historic downtowns suffer because of big box stores and online shopping, but we are lucky to be thriving and we work hard to maintain awareness of our wonderful downtown area.”