Downtown businesses usher in holiday spirit

POULSBO — Thanksgiving hasn’t passed yet, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Poulsbo.

Last weekend, the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association and community volunteers gathered on a cold, grey morning to spread some holiday cheer. Sprint’s cherry picker trucks helped hang lighted garlands across Front Street, which will be in place until January.

Cathy Halondak, owner of Hearts and Homespun and a long-standing downtown business owner said she doesn’t know exactly how long garlands have been strung downtown, but said she remembered seeing them appear shortly after she opened shop here in 1979. Halondak added that Sprint has volunteered its time and talent for the event since the beginning as she understands it.

In addition to the garlands, holiday banners were also hung in place of the usual Viking ship designs, and wreaths were hung from the light posts in Anderson Parkway.

The new look downtown is just part of what the HDPA has in mind for this holiday season.

Next weekend, will kick off Holiday Heritage House in which Father Christmas will be available Nov. 29-Dec. 22. The traditional structure that was absent from the downtown for a couple of years will return this year and will be erected Nov. 23 in the parking lot between Bad Blanche’s and Blue Heron Jewelry.

Besides being a great place to get a photo with the father of the season, Heritage House will also feature a giving tree where community members can pledge to answer a needy child’s Christmas wish. Toy donations will be given to Fishline in Poulsbo.

Holiday happenings downtown will also include a North Pole mailbox on the north corner of the building that houses Verksted and The Troll’s Den. From Nov. 22-Dec. 19, children can write letters to Santa and deposit them in the North Pole mailbox to receive a special reply from the big guy himself.

“It’s really cute,” said HDPA President John Kuntz. “When my kids were younger they did that and they were so excited to get something back from Santa.”

Downtown merchants are also planning to add a little holiday cheer to locals’ Christmas shopping by adding special hours. Friday nights Nov. 29-Dec. 20 a majority of downtown merchants and restaurants will be staying open until 8 p.m.

Kuntz said Friday nights will have an old fashioned Christmas feel as shoppers are likely to see carolers, festive storefronts and, of course, that jolly old fellow in the red suit. The Marine Science Center will also be taking part in the special Friday night hours and will be showing holiday movies and activities for kids that are free with admission to the center.

“So it’s great. The parents can drop the kids off at the Marine Science Center for some fun and go downtown for some shopping,” Kuntz explained.

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