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Monday, Sep. 22, 2014

Open House weekend will kick off shopping season

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

(Photo)
Tina Withrow, Dawn Parker and Teresa McGill prepare for the Christmas Open House.
SIKESTON - The Downtown Business Association's Christmas Open House Weekend is practically guaranteed to put people in the holiday spirit. Not only that, but it provides an opportunity to mark off a few names on the gift list before the Christmas shopping rush hits.

The third annual event is planned for Nov. 8-10, from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

"I think what's makes it so successful is that different merchants have special values throughout the weekend, you've got the holiday atmosphere and it's just a good time for everyone," said John Testa, president of the Downtown Business Association.

The three-day celebration is filled with activities for all age groups. There will be a candle light walk on Friday, horse-drawn carriage rides from 5-9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Santa will even make a special visit, eager to hear the Christmas wishes of his young fans.

The event hasbecome something local and area residents have come to look forward to, many making a special effort to fit it into their busy schedules.

"People start asking us starting in July if we're going to have it again," said Personal Expressions' Teresa McGill. "To me, it brings back the old-timey Christmas when families went shopping together. The weekend has a nice ambiance, just a good, warm feeling of Christmas."

But bringing it all together doesn't just happen, it takes a lot of work. For instance, McGill worked 10 and a half hours on Saturday alone just decorating the Christmas trees for the upcoming festivities.

Mike Parker said he wouldn't miss the weekend event. "Downtown Sikeston is always a good place to go to shop or eat but during the holidays, and especially during the Christmas Open House Weekend, the streets become a magical place. The downtown merchants really go all out like the good ol' days. I would say it becomes like something out of a Thomas Kincaide painting."