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Downtown Dickinson will sparkle early this year

Downtown Dickinson will glow Friday night as more than 20 local businesses light up their storefront windows as part of a community light festival in tandem with Ladies Night.

The goal of the light festival is to draw people into the downtown area while including businesses off the main drag, such as the Grooming Gallery. Photo courtesy of Sarah Dukart.
The goal of the light festival is to draw people into the downtown area while including businesses off the main drag, such as the Grooming Gallery. Photo courtesy of Sarah Dukart.

Downtown Dickinson will glow Friday night as more than 20 local businesses light up their storefront windows as part of a community light festival in tandem with Ladies Night.

Businesses all over the downtown area are participating by decorating their windows with a theme of their choosing. The public can then use a map provided to walk around and see all the participants' windows. The public will be the judge of the contest for best decorations and can then vote at a booth set up in between Desiree's Designs and Loom on First St.

Desiree Farrington, the owner of Desiree's Design, is a co-organizer of the event. This is its first year, though she hopes it will become an annual occurrence serving as a family-friendly, free event to draw the community to the downtown area and kickoff the holiday season, she said.

"When we do our downtown events it kind of tends to be the same businesses and focus on retail, retail, retail, which is what we want, but at the same time I wanted to do an event that focused on businesses coming together and bringing attention to downtown-not just retail - to any business that wanted to participate in that area," she said.

There are 23 businesses in the competition with several more decorating just for fun, she said. Some businesses will stay open later that evening offering treats, specials or coupons to those passing by.

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Tim's Tree and Service LLC will also be volunteering time to decorate the trees on Desiree's block on First Street while Kristi Schwartz, from Allstate Insurance, will decorate the park across from the Brickhouse Grille as part of the festivities.

The festival and Ladies Night, which the downtown area puts on fairly regularly offering specials throughout the evening, will both begin at 5 p.m. with the lights turning on at 6 p.m. The festival ends about 7 p.m., though Desiree said she would keep the voting booth open so long as people were still walking through the downtown area until 8 p.m.

Farrington made trophies for the winners and hopes businesses will display them all year until next year's contest.

Sarah Dukart, owner of the Grooming Gallery, said this event helped incentivize her to decorate early for the holiday season. Her store's theme is "Santa Paws."

"Downtown is always the center of the community, and anything that can draw people down here is great," she said. "People like to go look at lights."

She noted that some downtown events focus more on the businesses on the main drag and appreciates that this festival is more inclusive of those outside of that. She said she hopes it becomes a yearly festival.

"I am really busy as it is right now, so I'm doing it more just to be an active part of downtown rather than to draw business because I am so busy as it is, but I like to be a part of the downtown activities," Dukart said.

Stormie Kasian, owner of Faith Expressions Christian Store, said her theme is "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." She said she is especially excited to see so many businesses working together as a team to promote the entire downtown area.

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"I'm just excited to participate in the downtown business to help keep downtown alive," she said.

Farrington emphasized the importance of supporting small businesses in the community noting the personal touch small business owners to the shopping experience.

"I think it's just part of our heritage and very inspiring as Americans to show support to small business owners, people that are ingrained in the community, have a lot to offer the community, kind of get away from that big-box store, corporate setting and get back to a small business where the owners care about people," Farrington said. "They are very passionate about what they do. It's a completely different experience when you shop local with a small business owner than it is shopping from a corporation where a lot of the employees are just there for their paycheck."

More than 20 downtown businesses, such as Faith Expressions Christian Store, will light up their front windows as part of the first community light festival Friday evening. Photo by Ellie Potter/ The Dickinson Press
More than 20 downtown businesses, such as Faith Expressions Christian Store, will light up their front windows as part of the first community light festival Friday evening. Photo by Ellie Potter/ The Dickinson Press

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