Downtown businesses kick off Christmas seasonFrom horse-drawn trolleys to visits with Santa to a community tree, Farmington’s downtown businesses are putting together an old-fashioned Christmas celebration.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
From horse-drawn trolleys to visits with Santa to a community tree, Farmington’s downtown businesses are putting together an old-fashioned Christmas celebration.
The members of Farmington’s Downtown Business Association will hold their second annual Christmas kick-off Saturday. The event will feature special deals from downtown retailers, three opportunities to visit with Santa and a lighting ceremony for a 30-foot community Christmas tree the business association will install downtown.
Business association member Stacey Schultz, who with her husband, Nick, owns Bugaloo’s Ice Cream Shoppe and The Fan Club athletics, said the idea this year is to build on what the group put together last year. There will be a new craft sale at Grand Hall Studios on the second floor of the Exchange Bank building and a Dakota Valley Arts Council show at the Dakota County library.
Trolley rides with Santa are also new. The 15-minute tours of downtown are free to anyone who brings a donation for the Farmington food shelf.
Last year’s event drew a respectable crowd despite the six inches of snow that fell throughout the day. Schultz hopes to draw an even bigger crowd this year.
“We’d really like to see more people downtown,” she said. “We had quite a few last year, even though the weather stunk.”
Saturday’s events will start with shopping opportunities in the morning. Rambling River Center will hold its annual Secret Holiday Shop from 9 a.m. to noon. The event gives kids a chance to buy gifts for family and friends without their parents looking over their shoulders.
The season’s real gift-giver will be in town starting at 1 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Farmington VFW from 1 to 3 p.m. Then Santa will take a quick break and be back to ride the trolley starting at 5 p.m.
Throughout the day business association members will install and decorate the community’s Christmas tree in the vacant lot on Third Street. The tree will be decorated with lights and plastic balls bearing the names of business association members. There will also be a community touch. Downtown businesses are selling red bows on which people can write their names or the names of loved ones. Those will be installed on the trees. So will the 100 or so painted gourds decorated by visitors to Rambling River Days in June.
“The tree will be a little more decorated than last year. Not so Charlie Browney,” Schultz said. “I think it’s going to be even more beautiful than last year because we’ve got all the community artwork.”
Farmington mayor Kevan Soderberg and mayor-elect Todd Larson will be on hand at 6 p.m. for the official lighting of the tree. There will be performances by local choirs and bonfires to keep everyone warm.
After the tree is lit, visitors can make their way to B&B Pizza for hot cider and more visits with Santa.
“It will be a full day,” Schultz said. “There’s a little bit of something for everyone. There’s arts and there’s crafts and there’s Santa.”