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July 23, 2014

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Group delivers happiness to downtown Las Vegas with ‘reverse picket’

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Gregan Wingert

A group delivers happiness to downtown area businesses by doing a reverse picket, April 20, 2012.

Happy faces and words of encouragement were scrawled in bright neon colors on picket signs waved by pseudo protesters outside a downtown coffee shop Friday as part of a movement to bring good vibes to Las Vegas.

“We’re doing a positive picket, or a reverse picket,” said Clair Byrd, of Delivering Happiness, a company based on Zappos.com founder Tony Hsieh's book of the same name.

Byrd said Delivering Happiness was started to “nudge the world toward a happier place.”

About a dozen people in blue and red shirts that read “VHP” — for "very happy person" — joined Byrd and started their picket line at the Beat Coffee House at Emergency Arts.

There they assembled signs with phrases such as “Support Local Biz” and “This Place Rocks.”

Byrd came up with the idea for the positive picket when she noticed a negative protest happening outside a business in San Francisco and decided that people could be demonstrating for positive reasons.

“I’m very excited that we’re creating a city where I can come down to and feel safe,” said Andrea Goeglein, local author.

The group hopped on and off a blue tour bus that would take them to different places downtown.

“It’s really good energy,” said Reina Hohener, a Beat employee who was whipping up coffee drinks for some of the “very happy persons.”

Outside the Beat, the group chanted, “We love downtown, we love downtown.”

Cars did honk, which appeared to be directed at pedestrians who were jaywalking mor than the cheerful group outside the Beat.

After the Beat, the group headed to City Hall and the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Along the route the bus drove to Main Street and Charleston Boulevard to stop at the Arts Factory and the Artifice in the Arts District.

Eventually the bus made its way back toward Fremont and Sixth streets with a stop at the El Cortez.

“It’s not just about building the economics downtown,” said Goeglein, about promoting an upbeat atmosphere in the downtown area. “I’ll take my Friday afternoon to prove it too.”

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