Day Out Downtown with Santa, reindeer
Glenwood Springs’ Grand Holiday event takes place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Father Christmas and his reindeer will be in the small plaza next to A la Carte on the corner of Eighth Street and Grand Avenue.
On the third Thursday of every month, Day Out Downtown strives to bring shoppers to downtown Glenwood Springs by offering specials, giveaways and refreshments from local businesses.
But it’s not every month that patrons can meet live reindeer.
This month, local businesses have teamed up to create a Grand Holiday event, an experience that couples Christmas cheer with support for buying local.
One of those businesses is Confetti Design, 731 Grand Ave. Confetti merchandiser and Day Out Downtown co-organizer Cindy Svatos said one of the key attractions of the event is Father Christmas and live reindeer from Laughing Valley Ranch in Idaho Springs.
“It’s amazing how many people come and say, ‘I came to meet the reindeer,’” Svatos said.
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The Grand Holiday event will also feature sales, specials and giveaways from a variety of businesses, just like every other Day Out Downtown. Refreshments like cookies and hot chocolate, which have been donated by hotels, restaurants and other local businesses, will be available, too. Kids will have a chance to recite their wish lists to Santa, and the Mountain Harmony carolers will fill the streets with Christmas favorites.
Day Out Downtown began last year as a way to encourage people to shop locally, Svatos said.
“They developed Day Out Downtown just to promote downtown and to get more customers into the shops,” she said. “Businesses are encouraged to offer specials or refreshments or giveaways. And it’s been very successful.”
Michael Harman, finance director and treasurer of the Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority board, said events like this are vital to maintaining the recent sales tax revenue growth the city has seen in 2014.
“December sales are very important to the overall economy of Glenwood Springs and sustaining the sales tax growth,” Harman said. “Historically, December sales have always been the largest month for sales tax revenue. December sales tax account for at least 10 percent of the annual sales tax total.”
While Day Out Downtown has been a successful initiative for some of the most involved businesses — including Confetti Design, Treadz and A la Carte — it is still a work in progress, according to Patti Rock Star, owner of High Country Gems and Minerals, 311 Eighth St. She said she thinks the effort to form a community among small business owners downtown is a great idea, but it’s going to take time before Glenwood Springs is able to reach the success level of Carbondale’s First Fridays.
Rock Star said what she certainly can get behind is the buy local movement.
“I think that’s absolutely wonderful,” she said. “People love this store because everything in here is different. You get a unique, one-of-a-kind gift that’s been hand-picked.”
High Country Gems doesn’t have anything additional planned for the Grand Holiday event, but shoppers are always able to walk away with a free “gratitude rock” from the store’s counter.
While every other Day Out Downtown offers plenty of incentives for shoppers to support their local economy, the Grand Holiday offers a little something extra, even beyond reindeer and carolers.
“People love coming downtown when it’s so shiny and bright,” Svatos said.
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