On the day after Thanksgiving, Montrose will continue its holiday tree lighting tradition that starts the season along Honolulu Avenue.
By Mary O’KEEFE
On Friday, Nov. 24, the Montrose Shopping Park Association (MSPA) will kick off its celebration “Come Home to Montrose this Christmas.” The kickoff begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Hummingbird Conservatory Carolers who will be performing near the Christmas tree installed at the corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard. The Jingle Singers Strolling Christmas Carolers will also be found along other areas of the avenue at the same time.
The traditional community sing-along will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree by members of the Glendale City Council. And it wouldn’t be a holiday event without Santa, who will be on hand for photos by the tree from 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. As soon as the tree is lit, Southern California-style snow (from snow blowers) will begin falling.
“This particular [event] is now in its 11th year in the Montrose Shopping Park,” said Dale Dawson, MSPA event coordinator.
In addition the Glendale Fire Dept. (GFD) will bring its vintage fire engine to the event ready for “Cram-A Classic Toy Drive.” Everyone is invited to bring a new unwrapped toy to fill the fire engine in support of the GFD’s efforts to make sure all children enjoy the holidays.
The traditional event has become a family favorite not only because it is the start of the Montrose holiday season, which includes Plaid Friday, but it is also followed by Small Business Saturday.
Plaid Friday is a new twist on Black Friday, which is noted by many as being the biggest shopping day of the year, which can trace its history back over 100 years.
According to reports, the term “Black Friday” actually started as a reference to the stock market crash in September 1869 when the price of gold plummeted. It was then re-appropriated for the day after Thanksgiving when Philadelphia newspapers described the rush of crowds at stores. It was later described as the day retailers go into the black, or show a profit for the year.
Whatever the term’s history the day has become a highly anticipated shopping extravaganza. People line up for hours well before stores open to get those “special deals.” There have been reports in the past of fights breaking out among shoppers. That hectic, sometimes crazy, behavior is why Plaid Friday was created.
“Plaid is symbolic of the diversity and ingenuity of the independent retailers,” explained Dawson.
Plaid Friday originated in Oakland, California by Kerri Johnson as a way to bring back a time when shopping for friends and family was fun – and leisurely. It is part of the Shop Indie Program.
“At the time Plaid Friday was conceived, there was a growing movement to boycott all shopping on Black Friday. I, as well as many of the people I knew, avoided the craziness of that day. Most small businesses didn’t even open. At the time, I had a small artist-run gallery that I ran with my husband Jason, and we would turn the gallery into a pop-up shop featuring local artisans for the holidays. I thought why not turn this crazy day into something relaxing and enjoyable, giving people an alternative to shopping at the malls at 3 am. The idea was to get up late, grab a coffee, and explore the neighborhood, discovering small businesses and shopping local. A win-win for everyone,” stated Johnson, as reported in the American Independent Business Alliance.
Montrose stores will be participating Plaid Friday followed by Small Business Saturday.
On Saturday, Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Montrose Shopping Park shoppers can spin a wheel for prizes. Those who have a Nov. 25 receipt for at least $50 from a shopping park merchant will get one spin; a $100 receipt allows two spins.
Small Business Saturday is also part of the events to kick off the holiday celebration in Montrose.
“[There will be] horse-drawn trolley rides, music in every block [along Honolulu Avenue],” Dawson said. “Santa will be there every Saturday from Nov. 25 to Dec 23.”
The Heavenly Hand-Led pony rides on Saturdays are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All these holiday activities are free, Dawson added.