By Charly SHELTON
Last Friday was Black Friday at many of the stores around the country, but in the Montrose Shopping Park it was White Friday. On the biggest shopping day of the year, Montrose Shopping Park welcomed visitors with a nighttime tree lighting, snow falling along Honolulu Ave and a visit from Santa Claus.
“A little over 500 were in attendance,” said Dale Dawson, business administrator and events coordinator for the Montrose Shopping Park Association. “Last year we inherited the event and the infrastructure was already in place with 75 folding chairs. We realized last year that we had a ton of people standing up so this year we went to 150 chairs. Next year I think we have to get more like 400 because it just keeps growing.”
And Santa Claus came for a visit in a brand-new throne this year. He was at the event sharing Christmas cheer, helping in the festivities and taking Christmas wishes from excited children for the entire event.
“Santa Claus was huge,” Dawson said. “We rented the throne and we put it over by the tree with a red carpet and stanchions with red velvet ropes and kids didn’t stop coming to him all night long. They were just lined up all the way down the sidewalk. So we’re going to play that up a little more next year, maybe rent a reindeer, who knows.”
Following White Friday was Shop Small Saturday, endorsed by American Express, where guests were encouraged to shop at small businesses to help their community thrive. Montrose Shopping Park was abuzz on Shop Small Saturday and they kicked off their “Old Town Christmas” celebration which will run every weekend from now until Christmas with horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, Santa Claus and gift wrapping.
“[Saturday was] when ‘Old Town Christmas’ started,” Dawson said. “So the bands were on the street on every block and Santa was strolling along, the free carriage rides were going up and down the street with horses, so now ‘Old Town Christmas’ is up and running.”