BLOOMINGTON — Downtown merchants have put together a festive night for Friday, with some adding live holiday merriment in their windows.
Twenty-eight business have partnered with the city of Bloomington Economic Development Department, Downtown Bloomington Association, and the Around the Corner Artist Group to host the First Friday "Once Upon A Holiday" event from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
"We are truly excited to have all of these great holiday events in our downtown," said city Communication Manager Nora Dukowitz. "First Friday and the live holiday window vignettes are especially popular and a favorite holiday tradition for many in Bloomington and beyond."
Live window vignettes will include a musical performance at the Harold Gregor Gallery, 311 N. Main St.; a live incarnation of artist Herb Eaton's "Illinois Dancer" painting at his art studio, 411 N. Center; and the Grinch and Max at The Stashe, 514 N. Main St.
Crossroads Handcrafts of the World, 428 N. Main St., will feature wise women in its front window; Larry and the Vegans will perform in the window of the Joann Goetzinger Studio and Gallery, 313A N. Main St.; and in the window at the Little Art School, 417 N. Main, there will be "elves doing what elves do."
Angela Pierce will make her "cork people" ornaments in the window at Main Gallery 404, 404 N. Main St. Red Raccoon Games, 309 N. Main St., will host a "make your own Meeples Marshmallow" event.
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The McLean County Museum of History, 200 N. Main St., will host an evening of live theater, featuring performances by the Crossroads Area Student Theatre group. Santa's jolly elves and their sleigh will be outside for a perfect photo op.
Businesses will extend their hours and will have plenty of sales, samples, treats, and cheer available to anyone who stops by.
Santa, sponsored by the NAACP and Fox & Hounds Salon and Day Spa, will make an appearance in the lobby of the Monroe Center, 200 W. Monroe St. during the First Friday event. Fox & Hounds Salon and Day Spa, 200 W. Monroe St., will host a variety of Santas on Fridays from 4 until 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., through Dec. 21.
The tradition was started by Melanie Shellito, Doug DeLong and Pamala Eaton in 2003.
"We went around knocking on the doors of businesses and said, 'We think this is a great idea for our downtown. It will bring in families who will stroll the streets and come into the businesses and shops and galleries. Would you please participate?'" said Pamala Eaton. "That's how we started it."
A complete list of the activities is available at http://downtownbloomington.org