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Hometown Holidays Open House revives downtown tradition


November 29, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Local Nathan Shaboth, right, and daughter Charlie Shaboth warm up a marshmallow to make s'mores during the Arlington Hometown Holidays Open House on Nov. 25.

The city of Arlington and local businesses helped to revive an old downtown tradition featuring fire pits, s'mores and holiday cheer on Olympic Avenue with the Hometown Holidays Open House on Nov. 25.

A portion of the downtown street was closed off for fire pits while the Arlington High School band provided holiday music during the evening and many downtown businesses opened their doors for extended evening hours.

The event was a joint effort between the city of Arlington, the Arlington Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Arlington Business Association.

Local businesses also chose Nov. 25 to hold the Hometown Holidays Open House because it was Small Business Saturday, a national day meant to celebrate small businesses.

Many merchants on Olympic Avenue were open for the event, despite it being later than usual for them.

"I've talked to a couple of the stores and they've been busy all day," said Christy Brubaker, secretary and treasurer for the Downtown Arlington Business Association. "The response we've gotten has been tremendous."

The Holiday Open House was meant to encourage shoppers to consider small businesses for some of their holiday shopping.

"It was to get more people shopping local and to kick-off the holiday season for the area," said Jennifer Egger, executive director for the Arlington Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce.

The festivities were once an annual event for the downtown.

"This was a tradition started by Flowers by George [a local florist shop] years and years ago, but it hasn't happened for the past several years," said Egger.

The downtown hasn't held one for many years now though.

"It was pretty successful, but eventually I think we didn't have enough people to do it," said Brubaker.

"This year we decided to kick it back into gear with the Small Business Saturday," she said.

Egger said she remembers the previous events fondly.

"It's a memory I have from my childhood growing up here, so it's nice that we're able to bring it back this year," she said.

It also served as a way to highlight local businesses.

"It's a great promotion for Arlington because that's what we are - a small town," said Brubaker.

Shopping locally helps more of your money go back into the city of Arlington and its community members, she said.

"These are people who live here. When you shop here, you're helping someone here pay a mortgage or buy groceries," she said.

Local Nathan Shaboth said he likes the event promoting local businesses.

Christopher Andersson

photo BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSSON Arlington High School band members Sam Schrodeer, left, and Nolan Malne perform in the middle of Olympic Avenue during the Arlington Hometown Holidays Open House on Nov. 25.

"We bought something from one of the small businesses down here and we always think it's good to support local and the community around you," he said.

The event also helped the Arlington High School band which sold "s'mores kits" with chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows so that families could make their own during the event.

It was also meant to remind people of the upcoming Arlington Hometown Holidays events that will be happening next weekend on Dec. 2.

"We wanted to kick off the holidays to get people pumped up for next weekend when Santa Claus comes to town," said Brubaker.

Brubaker said that downtown businesses hope to continue with the Holiday Open House next year as well.

"Hopefully next year we'll get even more of them [the merchants] participating," she said.


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