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Merchants Unpack the Sleigh Bells and Snow Machines for an Early Christmas

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on Jul 21,2010
Filed Under News , Community,
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Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />United States Marines add a very festive touch to Union Street<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
United States Marines add a very festive touch to Union Street

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - With retail sales in a downward spiral due to a lagging economy mired by war and Wall Street disruptions, why couldn't the all-important Holiday season come just a few months early this year?
 

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Firehook employees Kunle Oyejide and Indira Torrentes are ready for Christmas in July.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Firehook employees Kunle Oyejide and
Indira Torrentes are ready for Christmas
in July.

Why not speed up the calendars to get the cash registers ringing, kind of like Black Friday after Thanksgiving, or the weekend before jolly ol' Saint Nick slithers down the chimney.
 
That's just what happened last weekend on Union Street in Old Town, where merchants dragged out the sleigh bells and snow machines from storage, and families of every stripe let their thoughts turn to snowmen, Christmas carols and snowflakes during Old Town's first ever "Christmas in July" event.
 
Fay Carter, the owner of Old Town's venerable Christmas Attic, and other participating merchants said they were very pleased with last weekend’s Christmas in July events.

"Shoppers were buying everything – our artists and authors were very successful in gaining new customers and selling their products," Carter said. "Many customers stayed for the movie shown on the Waterfront. On Sunday, locals and shoppers were listening to live music that ran in the afternoon. All in all, it was a fantastic event."
 
Families brought their children for a weekend of fun on Union Street. Friday evening was all about the partying and strolling, and Saturday was a family day with children and parents, locals and visitors from the extended area.

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Bob Lorenson prepares for a wine tasting at The Virginia Shop.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Bob Lorenson prepares for a wine tasting
at The Virginia Shop.

Rex Rogosch, the showroom manager at Architectural Ceramics, said he's already thinking about Christmas next July. “This was an amazing event...It really worked for us and I think next year and the year after that will be even better. We should not lose momentum and make sure that the first annual is not the last.”

Catharine Pear, the marketing director of DC's Bike and Roll, said she hopes the event becomes a yearly tradition and one that is anticipated by those who have attended.  Pear said she was "thrilled" to hear that the event was a success. And while she said that her staff did not see a big increase in numbers, she said she wouldn’t be surprised if she sees residual traffic in the next few weeks.

Elizabeth Mandros, the owner and designer of Mystique Jewelers said she had customers waiting to come into Mystique on Saturday morning and that the entire day was back-to-back customers interested in her fine jewelry designs and featured in-house designer trunk show Alberto Parada.  

Ginny Barlow, owner of Encore Consignment Boutique, said the shop played Christmas music and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. "We had a very good weekend," she said, "and we hope that we're able to continue doing these special promotions in the future."  

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Windsor of Old Town employee Caroline LeVere prepares for Christmas in July.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Windsor of Old Town employee Caroline
LeVere prepares for Christmas in July.

Hooray for Books employee Patrick Hunter, who read Christmas books at the Firehook Bakery on Sunday, said that children of all ages and families of all kinds let their thoughts turn to snowmen, Christmas bells and snowflakes – with cookies of all shapes and sizes sold at Union Street's Firehook Bakery during the Christmas in July event.

Hunter read some favorite holiday stories to the crowd, including Bear Stays Up for Christmas; Have you been Naughty or Nice?and  How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Next door to Firehook, Ben & Jerry's window bubble machine was in full operation helping to add a touch of magic to the air and the afternoon.

Gale Curcio is an independent writer and public relations consultant in Mount Vernon.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Bradley Zimmerman, from The Kilted Nation, is always ready for Christmas.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Bradley Zimmerman, from The Kilted Nation,
is always ready for Christmas.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Gale Curcio, Joanie Stewart, Sue Dickerson and Andrea Glatting enjoy the holiday party at Union Street Public house.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Gale Curcio, Joanie Stewart, Sue Dickerson
and Andrea Glatting enjoy the holiday
party at Union Street Public house.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />A strolling bagpiper adds to the festivities.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
A strolling bagpiper adds to the festivities.







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