Downtown Camrose lights up for holiday season
It may not look a lot like Christmas just yet, but Downtown Camrose is doing their best to get everyone in the holiday spirit.
On Saturday night they hosted their Celebration of Lights but, for the first time, as a family-oriented multi-cultural holiday event. This Friday, meanwhile, is Midnight Madness, Downtown Camrose’s take on Black Friday.
This is the beginning of a much more event-driven approach by the association.
“We think it’s important to get events into the downtown and bring people downtown so they can see all of the great venues and stores, and the uniqueness and authenticity of the downtown,” said Downtown Camrose manager Allan Walkey.
The Celebration of Lights has been an event that has slowly built itself up over the last several years. There has always been the ceremonial lighting of the downtown Christmas tree, but this year they decided to expand the program out. Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand for pictures with little ones while several organizations like the Camrose Public Library and Rumpus Nacht Edmonton were on hand to help bring an educational component to the night as they talked about different traditions for the season. The Camrose Open Door Society was selling hot dogs an provided hot chocolate while donations were collected for Neighbour Aid.
Walkey estimated about 150 people came through the event, hosted in the Brick showroom.
“For the first time, this is an exciting event for Downtown Camrose, it’s an opportunity to get together and celebrate the community and ... the traditions of Christmas,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, there’s always the celebration of a holiday at this time of the year.”
This Friday really kicks off the sale season for local businesses. In the U.S., Black Friday falls on the day after American Thanksgiving and is the biggest retail sales night of the year. Often, the day determines whether a business will finish the year with a profit – in the black – or take a loss.
In Camrose it is about reminding local shoppers they can find just about everything they need to checkoff their Christmas list on or just off of 50th street.
“A lot of these people in the downtown are what I call lifestyle entrepreneurs,” said Walkey. “They employ four or five people, they make a profit, they’re not going to try to compete with Walmart in terms of pricing, but they’ll beat everybody in terms of the service they provide. They like to know their customers, who they are, where they come from … it’s exciting for them.”
To help celebrate the day, Santa will be back downtown and they hope to have carolers as they aim to make it a welcoming evening of sale-driven shopping.
Midnight Madness will run from 6 to 11:59 p.m.