Arlington held its Hometown Holidays kickoff with festive activities on Small Business Saturday this year on Nov. 27.
The event included the tree lighting at Legion Park, a farmers market, many businesses staying open late, and much more.
Some businesses gave out specials or goodies as well, such as the Stilly Diner which provided hot cocoa.
The rain dissipated throughout the Saturday which allowed locals to return to the kickoff event that was missed last year.
“The turnout has been really good, considering it was pouring rain earlier this morning,” said Diane Krieg, executive director of the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Many cars decorated with Christmas lights were on display and fire pits lined Olympic Avenue which was closed to car traffic.
S’mores kits were available as well, being sold as a local fundraiser.
“It’s awesome. We’re loving this,” said local Shannon Williamson, whose son said he enjoyed making s’mores.
“I like the music, all the people and the costumes,” said Williamson.
Local Wes Boede said it was good to return to community events again.
“I like just getting around people finally and all the cute little shops down here,” he said.
The event took place on Olympic Avenue in conjunction with Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday meant for supporting local businesses.
“The day before the emphasis is so much on buying everything online or at a big store,” said Krieg. “It’s really great to take a moment and make a conscious choice of purchasing something that will make a difference for someone in your community."
Money spent in local businesses goes to local people, said Krieg.
“When you shop small you do support someone in your community. Their kids go to your schools,” she said.
Small Business Saturday and the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Charm Walk was also part of the holiday festivities and helped people explore the downtown Arlington businesses.
“Sometimes you just see what’s in the window and you don’t look beyond that,” said Krieg.
Although Krieg noted there was almost an issue with the charm walk as the shipment had been stuck for more than a week.
“The order showed up finally at 12:30 p.m. I had a volunteer do the farmers market and I ran home and put the bags together,” she said. “We’ll have plenty of charms for next week."
Holidays events are continuing downtown next Saturday on Dec. 4.
“This is just the beginning. Just the start to a bunch of great opportunities and events here in Arlington,” said Chad Blood, pastor at Lifeway Church and one of the organizers of the Hometown Holidays.
The Santa Parade will return to the community beginning on noon that day.
“So we can enjoy the holidays in a way that we haven’t been able to in a little bit,” said Blood.