Downtown businesses continue tradition of holiday windows

In 1927, Fulton downtown businesses began hosting a Christmas program. Businesses kept their windows covered until a set time, when all the businesses revealed their lighted windows at once.

On Friday, that tradition will continue when the downtown businesses will unveil their decorated windows at 5 p.m.

“I spoke to a lady yesterday in Columbia whose mother used to work at one of the downtown stores,” said Jody Paschal from Gidley’s Shoes. “She said her mother used to work for weeks on the window and they would have dinner (the night of the unveiling) and then rip the paper off.”

Paschal cautioned that even if businesses seem closed on Friday, they are simply hiding their windows for the surprise unveiling.

“The holiday open house is a chance for families to come downtown to see what all the businesses have to offer,” he said. “We’ll have buggy rides around downtown for $5 a person and hot chocolate on the street. There will also be carolers roaming around downtown spreading Christmas cheer.”

Stores downtown will be open until 9 p.m. for people who want to see what holiday offerings they have.

Paschal said the event has gotten smaller over the last few years because of fewer businesses downtown.

He also noted the weather has a big impact on the number of people who attend.

“Last year, we probably had 200 people downtown between 5 and 9 p.m., but the weather was wonderful,” he said. “It was a cool winter evening. This year, we expect to have the same kind of weather, so we’re hoping for the same number or more.”

The event kicks off with holiday shopping beginning at 10 a.m. The window unveiling is at 5 p.m. and a prize drawing in front of Gidley’s will take place at 8 p.m.

“We’re doing five $100 gift certificates for the downtown area,” he said.

People must register in participating stores on Friday to win the certificates. The winner must be present and 18 years or older.

Shopping continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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