Thanks to live music, ice sculptures and one giant dancing tree, it began to feel like the holiday season in Longmont on Saturday.
The festivities were part of Small Business Saturday and the Longmont Downtown Development Authority’s efforts aimed at reminding people to shop small and local as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on businesses and restaurants. Which was exactly what many Longmont residents did.
The weather was perfect for a day of outdoor perusing and socially distanced mingling.
Longmont residents Sean Flynn and Deb Witzel were among those downtown Saturday. When they realized the shops were open for business, they browsed some of their favorites and ended up finding some new ones, too.
“All the shops are restricting access and everybody’s wearing masks,” Flynn said.
In St. Stephen's Plaza, a brilliant and crystalline snowman and a toy soldier stood ready to delight crowds. Jess Parrish, owner and sculptor with Cool Hand Ice Carving, shaved ice sculptures perfect for family photos. Temperatures were too warm for long-lasting ice displays, but Parrish said he was excited for the chance to make some sculptures for the weekend celebrating small businesses.
Julie Kitzes also was downtown Saturday adding some artistic touches in the spirit of the season. Kitzes was painting a winter squirrel on the window at 356 Main St., as part of the LDDA’s mural painting program that is awarding $300 stipends to artists to add some holiday cheer to storefronts.
The inspiration for her painting came from her love of animals.
“I love animals and squirrels are the most common Colorado staple,” she said.Chairs were set up on the sidewalk in front of the 300 East Breezeway so shoppers could sit and enjoy the sounds of the Longmont Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Quartet, which played songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.” The small audience clapped and whistled when the songs came to an end.
Flynn being a singer and songwriter in his own band, Flynn and The Electric Co., said the music was great.
Santa for the third year in a row made an appearance at the Primitive Country Loft House. Kids were welcome to talk to Santa and Mrs. Claus and pick up a coloring page and a candy cane.
The festivities continue today, which is Artist Sunday, with artist pop-ups and markets. But the hope is the importance of shopping locally will resonate beyond the weekend.
It’s been a challenging year and this holiday season is one of the most critical in history for small businesses, Colin Argys, LDDA marketing specialist and event coordinator, stated in a news release.
“This winter will be make-or-break for many local businesses,” he stated.