By Monique Tamminga
Special to the Western News
Downtown businesses and the Downtown Penticton Association are getting into the Christmas spirit with their second annual Tree Light Up Festival and Christmas Open House on Thursday, Nov. 22 starting at 5 p.m.
Downtown stores are staying open late and offering special sales as part of the evening’s festivities.
There are fun activities for all ages, including cookie decorating, Christmas card making, bouncy castles, letters to Santa and take selfies with Elfy. The highlight of the evening is the tree lighting taking place at 7:15 p.m. at Nanaimo Square. Along with the mayor, there will be a special visitor from the North Pole, said the DPA.
The festivities also include an Art Walk that allows people to visit eight galleries all within walking distance.
“Last year was our first Tree Light Up Festival and it was the single most fabulous event the DPA has put on,” said Peaches Lingerie store owner Christina Conquergood. “The majority of shops in the 200 and 300 block of Main Street and Front Street are going to stay open late that night.”
“My husband had to be a doorman, it was that busy in my store last year,” said Conquergood, who is also a DPA board member. It’s a great way to do your Christmas shopping, she added.
This year, the festival and open house falls on the evening before Black Friday and most downtown stores are offering early bird specials and pricing.
“Black Friday is huge for all of us. It’s a time when we are fully stocked and want to move product. Shoppers get fantastic deals – it’s a win-win,” she said.
At Peaches, both upstairs and down, ‘the entire store’ is buy one, get one half off.
“Black Friday is so much better than Boxing Day because you can get your Christmas shopping done and save money doing it,” she said.
Down on Front Street, Melt Mineral Spa is going crazy for Black Friday.
They start their Black Friday deals at midnight to 2 a.m.
“With how well we did last year for Black Friday, we wanted to do something really exciting,” said Megan Stewart of Melt Mineral Spa.
“Just like in the U.S., people will have to physically come into the spa at midnight to get the deals. People can spin the wheel for prizes, we have luxury gift baskets for $79 and we just announced that you can buy a $200 gift card for just $50,” she said.
Then on Black Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. they are offering a buy a $100 gift certificate, get a $100 gift card for free deal.
“Black Friday is our busiest time of year,” said Stewart.
Buying local is so important to keep the local economy thriving. Conquergood believes that Penticton residents are fantastic supporters of buying local.
Peaches has been in business for 15 ‘happy and successful’ years in downtown Penticton, said Counquergood. They sell a beautiful variety of lingerie, sleepwear, fitted bras for all sizes, panties and the popular men’s underwear brand Saxx.
Conquergood said downtown businesses are excited for Thursday’s festival.
“It was just such a great atmosphere. There were so many families doing their Christmas shopping, and taking in all the festivities. I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.
Most downtown shops will stay open longer for Black Friday as well, she said.
To keep the Christmas cheer going, the DPA hosts the Santa Claus Parade on Dec. 1 at 4 p.m.
For more on Black Friday, see the special section in the Nov. 21, 2018 print edition of the Penticton Western News.
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