Mount Airy celebrates the season -- Gazette.Net


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Joanne and Steve Davis of Mount Airy visited Blossom and Basket Boutique Thursday, during the kick off of the town’s “A Main Street Christmas” event.

On their shopping list was chocolate mints for their children’s stockings.

They also were looking to support local businesses.

“Mount Airy keeps up a [lively] downtown, [and] we feel like if we can support the local businesses here it’s a good thing,” Steve Davis said.

The Mount Airy boutique, at 3 N. Main St., was one of 19 businesses that participated in the town’s annual Shop, Sip and Stroll, a shopping event, featured as part of the 10th annual “A Main Street Christmas,” which ran from Nov. 29 to Saturday. The three-day event — sponsored by the town government and the Mount Airy Main Street Association — featured several activities, including a tree-lighting ceremony, a holiday concert performed by the Mount Airy Middle School and South Carroll High School bands and a Santa parade, along with the shopping promotion.

As part of Shop, Sip and Stroll customers were given a search card used to match holiday food and drinks being offered by participating businesses to the shop name. Completed cards holders had the opportunity to win a gift basket valued at $250 that included items donated by Mount Airy businesses. At 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29, two people had turned in their cards at the Blossom and Basket, where spiced wine was being offered, according Ellie Bonde, owner of the shop.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Bonde said of the shopping event. “We have a nice variety of shops downtown.... [This] helps people discover that we are here so that they can come back another time.”

Ben Gue, owner of Ben Gue’s Gifts and Collectibles, at 4 S. Main St., said that the store always does well during the Christmas event, especially the day of the “Giant Twinkling Santa Parade.”

“Parade night is always a big night,” he said. “The amount of people that come in here can get scary.”

About 2,000 people came out for the parade and tree lighting event on Saturday, according to town staff. The parade, presented by the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, included more than 30 floats and acts from area groups and local businesses that traveled about three-quarters of a mile down Main Street from Mount Airy Elementary School to Calvary United Methodist Church. At least five vehicles from the fire company were in the parade, including a fire truck riden by Santa Claus.

“It’s a fun thing,” said Scott Baker, chairman of the parade committee. “It’s a nice way for the town to come together [and] the volunteers really enjoy it.”

Monique Sparks, the 2012 Miss Frederick, was grand marshal of the parade. She was assisted by junior marshals Natalie Costa, a student at Mount Airy Elementary School and Aiden Shipley and Marissa Hutt, students at Twin Ridge Elementary School.

Prior to the parade a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree, provided by Knills Farm Market in Mount Airy, was lit by Brenda Duvall of Frederick, who was acting the part of Mrs. Claus, Mount Airy Mayor Patrick Rockinberg and Branden Coburn, a kindergarten student at Parr’s Ridge Elementary School.

“[The Christmas activities] really highlights the downtown portion of Mount Airy and our community,” Rockinberg said in an interview Friday. “It’s a very special time in Mount Airy.”

myoung@gazette.net