Holiday Open House to feature Santa, extended downtown shopping hours
by Marie Nesmith
Nov 14, 2011 | 2718 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Santa receives driving instructions from Cartersville Fire Department Lt. Mitchell Bagley while Nancy Jackson, Cartersville Downtown Development Authority’s promotion chairperson for the Holiday Open House, listens. Santa will be giving his reindeer the day off and arriving at Saturday’s event at Friendship Plaza in a fire truck.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Santa receives driving instructions from Cartersville Fire Department Lt. Mitchell Bagley while Nancy Jackson, Cartersville Downtown Development Authority’s promotion chairperson for the Holiday Open House, listens. Santa will be giving his reindeer the day off and arriving at Saturday’s event at Friendship Plaza in a fire truck. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Santa Claus will arrive more than a month early to Bartow County, courtesy of the Cartersville Fire Department, Cartersville Downtown Development Authority and downtown merchants.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas will visit Cartersville’s Friendship Plaza on Saturday, the final day of Downtown Cartersville’s Holiday Open House. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., adults will be able to bring their cameras and take free photographs of their children whispering their gift lists to Santa.

“We are actually going to be bringing him in, in one of our fire trucks,” Cartersville Fire Chief Scott Carter said. “So we will have the opportunity while we’re driving him into the square to try to explain anything that he may feel put us on the naughty list. So we do have a little personal perspective here on this. I want to get his ear because there’s a couple of things I need to let him know about. But beyond that, that’s our primary role is we’re providing him transportation into the square for the ceremony. We’re looking forward to it.

“Quite honestly, for us in responding to disasters and tragedies and so many things that we see through the year, we’re excited to be a part of this event that does bring joy to our community. We have had a tough year [in] 2011, when you consider the tornadoes, when you consider the downturn in the economy. So we’re just excited to be able to be a part of something that hopefully is going to bring a smile to the faces of not just the children but smiles to the faces of everybody in our community.”

On Friday — the Holiday Open House’s first night — area residents will be able to shop amongst the glow of candlelight from a multitude of luminaries from 5 to 8 p.m. The evening offering also will feature strolling carolers and A Flash of Brass Quintet will perform holiday favorites from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Along with Santa’s visit, the festivities will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with businesses extending their shopping hours.

For Cartersville DDA Executive Director Liz Hood, the two-day event is an ideal way for merchants to highlight new products as well as introduce new businesses to the community.

“The merchants had wanted to have something a little bit earlier this year, so we decided to go back to the weekend before Thanksgiving [for] our downtown open house. ... It’s been mid-December in the past but it’s so cold by then,” Hood said. “The public really had said it was awfully cold to come out those nights. So we’re trying it a little bit earlier and hoping the weather will be better. We’ve even had sleet when we’ve had it in December.

“[The Holiday Open House] is a way [for our merchants] to showcase all the new holiday products they have. All the merchants are just as busy as can be unpacking. You’ll see a lot of empty boxes outside of downtown shops as they get ready for Holiday Open House.”

For more information about the Holiday Open House, call the Cartersville DDA at 770-607-3480.