(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- This weekend's Downtown Sikeston Holiday Open House will kick off the holiday shopping season while providing some old-fashion family fun.
Carriage rides, hot chocolate and candle-lit streets are among the weekend attractions of the event hosted by Historic Midtown Development Group Inc. Santa Claus and some of his elves are even expected to make an appearance. Carolers could also be part of the event, which is in its seventh year.
"It's an old-fashioned feel for Christmas with luminary bags lighting the way, it's like an old holiday tradition," said Susie Kenedy, chair of the HMDG promotions committee and owner of Susie's Bake Shoppe and Restaurant.
The first Downtown Sikeston Christmas ornament depicting the Methodist Church columns will also be available for sale in select stores.
"They had ornaments several years ago, and it was something our group decided to try and bring back," Kenedy said about an ornament featuring a Sikeston attraction.
The group came up with the idea to use the columns for the ornament's design, Kenedy said.
"The ornaments were designed specifically for us," said Amanda Pratt, HMDG executive director. "The artist made a sculpture and then a mold was made from that, and each piece is hand-painted."
Ornaments, which are made of resin and marble dust, are dated on the back. It also states the columns were built in 1912, Pratt said.
"They are a numbered limited edition of 200," Pratt said. "Once they're gone, they're gone."
However, if feedback about the ornaments is positive, HMDG could make them an annual series, Pratt said.
The ornaments are $20 each and will be available at the Sikeston Depot Museum, Sikeston Public Library, Susie's Bake Shoppe, Falkoff's Men's Shop, Personal Expressions and Bo's Jewelry and Pawn. All proceeds will benefit the HMDG.
For those who can't make it to the open house, Pratt said the ornaments will also be available at her office.
"This is an event that continues to grow each year, and the whole weekend is exciting, but Friday night is terrific with the carriage rides, candlelight and all the stores being so festive. It really puts you in spirit for the holidays," said Missy Marshall, executive director of Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce.
Marshall continued: "People have made it a tradition now to stroll downtown that evening. Some of the stores will have extended hours and run sales or specials during the event."
The weekend is so busy, Personal Expressions owner Teresa McGill will have 11 employees on staff Friday night compared to her usual two. McGill will offer 20 percent off items storewide.
"The first year (of the event) I was at the counter checking out people, and I started crying because it was the first time I'd had two lines waiting," McGill said.
Many people like the event because its reminiscent of how times used to be, when everyone gathered downtown, McGill said, adding it gives that "comfy and homey feeling."
"We hope everybody in Sikeston and Miner supports their local merchants in the two communities, including the downtown and other shopping areas," Marshall said. "By supporting our own merchants, we have a better economy."