The weather outside might have been frightful, but inside patrons embraced the cozy festive spirit as downtown Plainfield kicked-off its holiday season Saturday with the annual .
In conjunction with the second annual Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express, local shoppers were lured to Lockport Street to write letters to Santa Claus, decorate gingerbread homes, make holiday ornaments, and even pay a visit to the jolly Old St. Nick himself.
Despite the steady fall of warm November rain, customers took advantage of the opportunity to spend quality family time while supporting local businesses.
“We’re just out here because we like enjoying that we have this little area and supporting the businesses,” said Plainfield resident Donna Porrey, who was shopping at with her children Kaley and Jake. “It’s a nice place to bring the kids.”
As she goes into her fifth year of hosting gingerbread house decorating at , owner Cathy DeAvila said she expects a nice turnout this holiday season.
“For today, we have only a dozen (people) coming in,” DeAvila said, “but for the holiday season last year we made 400 gingerbread houses and we should do about 800 this year.”
Watching as her 5-year-old son Lucas enthusiastically placed gumdrops and other candy on a gingerbread house, DeAnn Snodgrass said she was pleased with the downtown events.
“This works really, really well because we’re inside,” Snodgrass said.
For the second consecutive year, owner Deb Kirchhoefer opened her business for children to design keepsake holiday ornaments. she said she's confident more visitors will want this unique memento.
“I don’t think people knew what to expect last year,” Kirchhoefer said. “So I think this year I’m expecting more because this is really a cool thing.”
At the , Aimee Evans helped a small group of women learn how to perfect the art of making bows … or at least try.
“I can’t obviously make a bow,” Plainfield resident Diane Roberts joked as she explained why she decided to attend the session.
So are there any tips in learning how to make a bow?
“I don’t know … patience and practice,” Roberts said. “I’ve tried this before and it didn’t work very well either.”
Evans added, “A thin wire ribbon is easier to work with. The wired ribbon you can really refresh and use them year after year and store them.”
On Saturday night, residents enjoyed horse-drawn carriage rides, a candlelight Christmas wine tasting, and the 60th annual inside the .
“We always do better,” Sweet Pea Children’s Boutique owner Jen Potrawski said. “Candlelight Christmas always brings people anyway because there are things going on all day. These events always bring new people to the area because they’ve heard about all of the little things that are going on.”
Added Roberts, “It’s just fun and the carriage rides are great.”
Downtown Lockport's Holiday Open House will be held Dec. 10.