Downtown goes all Christmasy

Open house event kicks off the holidays on Market Street

  • Mollie Farrar shows the Santa sleigh at Hoskins in the Flat in downtown Clinton that will be used in an outdoor display through the holiday season for Santa’s visits with children. It was on display inside the store last week- end during the downtown merchants’ Christmas Open House. - G. Chambers Williams III

  • Harper Maxwell looks over a metal nativity sculpture in Hoskins in the Flat during last Saturday’s Christmas Open House event in downtown Clinton. - G. Chambers Williams III

Customers and browsers came out in droves to see what downtown merchants had on tap for the coming holiday season during last weekend’s Christmas Open House, sponsored by the Historic Downtown Clinton Merchants Association.

Merchants all through the downtown area had their stores decorated and loaded up with Christmas merchandise inside and out, and those browsing the stores and displays were amazingly cognizant of social-distancing protocols that need to be followed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Missing were the street vendors who normally set up for the downtown antiques festivals, and Market Street was not shut down to traffic as it usually is for events such as this.

But there were displays and merchandise tables in front of many of the stores, which were attracting many of the visitors on Saturday.

Mollie Farrar, one of the managers and a member of the ownership family of Hoskins in the Flat, said she was pleased with the turnout, and hopes the downtown merchants will see a successful holiday season this year in spite of the COVID-19 difficulties.

In her store, she had a Santa’s sleigh that will be moved to the commons area next door to the store later this month to serve as a backdrop for Santa’s appearances downtown during the season, Hoskins opened that outside area, which until recently was a downtown park with a gazebo, as the new Market on Market in September. Originally it had fall-themed merchandise, but that’s now being replaced with Christmas displays and merchandise.

Food trucks were also a part of last weekend’s open house event. Another such event is planned for the first weekend of December.

The city and the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce have canceled this year’s Christmas parade, and downtown merchants have canceled their popular annual Christmas Cookie Crawl event.

But other events are still in the works, including the Holiday Market Sale, which will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. There will be at least one food truck for that event, as well.

“We are still planning to do a small tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4, at the Community Center,” City Manager Roger Houck said. “We will try to do it with city staff and maybe carolers from the middle school.”