Celebrate the Season event extended


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The long lines, cramped aisles, and combative present grabs of Black Friday may not be everyone’s idea of a perfect Christmas shopping experience, so the Iowa City Downtown District has introduced some changes for those looking for an alternative.

The Downtown District has extended its annual Celebrate the Season event from one Saturday in December to a monthlong celebration in order to engage more community members.

Events will run from Nov. 29 to Dec. 25.

Officials decided the changes to Celebrate the Season will feature events such as horse-drawn carriage rides, pictures with Santa, and a day of open houses at select businesses.

Betsy Potter, the Downtown District operations director, said these activities would better serve customers and business owners if they were extended to a month.

“It’s just hard to do all of these activities in one day, so it’s better for the whole downtown if we spread it out a little,” she said.

The monthlong celebration kicked off with Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29, Potter said.

Beadology owner Karen Kubby, who has participated in previous events, thinks the change is a good one.

“I think it’s a grand idea; people are shopping for holiday things much longer than one weekend, and I think it just creates a whole festive month downtown,” she said.

Potter said not only can they plan more events in a month, but it also gives an incentive for shoppers to return throughout the shopping season.

“It’s just more reason to come back downtown every Saturday and every weekend,” she said.

Andrew Sherburne, a co-owner of FilmScene, said his business wasn’t quite ready to participate last year, but this year, it will be involved all month long, playing holiday movies on the weekends and giving kids the chance to take a picture with Santa.

“It’s a great opportunity for people in the community to come and have a fun, family day downtown in Iowa City,” he said. “We’re just really pleased that we could partner with … all the other small businesses downtown to put something special together.”

Bill Nusser, the owner of Hands Jewelry, said his shop was “incredibly busy” on Nov. 29, thanks to Small Business Saturday and Celebrate the Season.

He said events such as these ensure the downtown stays vibrant and viable, which is why he said he always makes sure his business is involved.

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