If you like old fashioned holiday traditions, then you’re going to love downtown this coming weekend for Hometown Holidays. Merchants along Main Street have begun decorating for the holidays. Lighted trees, hanging stockings, snowflakes and jolly men in red suits are popping up in windows everywhere. Add in Christmas carols playing softly in the background and suddenly you’ve got a very merry Main Street.
Hometown Holidays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, may be old news to some of our regular shoppers, but if you’re new to town, let me tell you this is a great weekend to park your car downtown and take advantage of all the free parking available to visitors and shoppers. Many of the merchants are hosting open houses to kick off the holiday season and you’re sure to see their friendly smiles and hear their cheery hellos as you walk through the front door.
And this year, the Sumner Downtown Association is bringing back the Norman Rockwell “living art” created and presented by Ascension Productions. We’ll have six more Norman Rockwell paintings come to life in various storefront windows downtown. Shoppers can stroll from store to store while stopping to inspect the different vignettes designed to replicate a Norman Rockwell painting, complete with an actor or two to portray the main character.
Last year the staged windows were a huge hit with visitors who were getting a jump start on their holiday shopping. They stopped and stared while trying to get the actor’s attention as they waved and pointed.
Artistic Director Petra Karr cracked me up last year while describing some of the difficulties the actors had posing in the windows. While normally you would expect cooler weather in Washington this time of year, last year’s “Hometown Holidays” boasted a gorgeous sunny day. While all the rest of us were pretty happy about that, including our downtown shoppers, all of our dedicated actors standing in windows dressed in wool coats, hats, and mittens, began to get a little warm standing in the sunny rays coming through the glass. Especially the younger actors.
So while we’ve once again ordered a sunny day for the event, Petra has made some changes to accommodate the unexpected temperatures caused by the sunlight coming through the windows.
So if you’ve been a little slow to partake of the upcoming holiday spirit, head down to Main Street this Saturday and check out the Rockwell recreations. People who have attended Hometown Holidays have reported an unexpected urge to hum Christmas carols and crave eggnog after strolling down the sidewalks and shopping in the various stores. And don’t forget to bring family and friends to enjoy the fun as well. This weekend is sure to be merry for visitors who spend some time in Sumner window shopping.
Shelly Schlumpf is executive director of the Sumner Downtown Association.