Cape Girardeau downtown, Jackson uptown host special Christmas shopping events

Friday, December 4, 2009
Allen Greatting's horse Prince, a Percheron, pulled visitors through downtown Cape Girardeau Friday, November 30, 2007, as part of the downtown open house. (Kit Doyle)

Santa Claus, caroling, hot apple cider and carriage rides are among the plans for the Cape Girardeau and Jackson Christmas open houses this weekend.

Old Town Cape will hold its annual downtown Christmas open house from 6 to 9 p.m. today while the uptown Jackson merchants will host the Jackson Hometown Christmas from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We always look forward to the open house each year because so many people are out and about in downtown," said Dave Hutson, co-owner of Hutson's Fine Furniture, 43 S. Main St. in Cape Girardeau. "Walking the area puts everyone in the old-fashioned Christmas spirit. The cool weather we're expecting only adds to setting the mood."

Hutson's Fine Furniture is one of 13 businesses in downtown Cape Girardeau who signed up to stay open late to host the shoppers. Organized by Old Town Cape, the open house will not only include free pictures with Santa, children's activities, caroling, holiday treats inside participating businesses and free carriage rides but also an opportunity to win a $1,500 shopping spree at participating businesses.

Judith Lang, co-owner of Lang Jewelers, 126 N. Main St., said the open house is their biggest event of the year.

"A lot of people make this a social event," Lang said. "It's a chance to come downtown, visit the stores, sample some holiday treats and see all the decorations. This will be a chance for all of the stores to showcase what we have and put our best foot forward."

Marla Mills, executive director of Old Town Cape, estimated about 2,000 people attended last year's event, with 500 people entering the drawing. She said most people she talked to said they thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

"The families enjoy coming to take in the Christmas festivities and in this economy something that provides entertainment like this for free is quite a bargain," Mills said. "The open house is a great way for the merchants to get people inside their stores, some for the first time."

Meanwhile, uptown Jackson's Christmas festivities kick off Saturday when shoppers can visit area merchants for hot apple cider and Christmas sweets as well as receive a free coffee at Lil Miss Muffins & Stuff, 113 W. Main St., with the purchase of a mug Saturday from the Jackson Chamber of Commerce building, 125 E. Main St. But the grand prize will be a giant stocking filled with prizes from participating uptown merchants.

The event continues each Saturday through Dec. 19.

Julie Rush, a member of the Jackson Hometown Christmas committee, said the event will showcase the renovations along a section of High Street.

"The community should be proud of the new look in uptown, and most of it was finished just in time for the Christmas season," Rush said. "We're wanting to promote Jackson throughout the next few Saturdays and keep the spending dollars here locally."

Lottie James, owner of Mousse Salon, 126 S. High St., said the event will build as the years pass.

"This is the first year, so we realize it will take some tweaking before next holiday season rolls around," James said. "I'd love to see it get really big, but you have to start somewhere."

Lisa Walker, co-owner of High Street Station, 106 S. High St., hopes the event will create a buzz among shoppers, both local and those from outside Jackson.

"There's a lot of competition for customers during the holiday season," Walker said. "Sometimes it's harder for independent, smaller shops like ours to compete with the big box stores.

"The thing we and others like us try to do is offer unique merchandise and good customer service," Walker said. "We're hoping this event will pull in those customers and leave a lasting positive impression on the shopper."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

Pertinent addresses:

126 S. High St., Jackson, MO

106 S. High St., Jackson, MO

125 E. Main St., Jackson, MO

113 W. Main St., Jackson, MO

43 S. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

126 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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