Strolling Through Change
Saturday evening, December 3, saw beautiful weather for the 38th annual Townsend Christmas Stroll, put on by the Townsend Chamber of Commerce. Local businesses in the area came together with discounts and sales, with local craftsmen showcasing their talents. Broadway was closed, as horse drawn wagon rides went up and down the street loaded down with people; some who sang Christmas carols while they rode.
This year, the Chamber changed the stroll up a bit by having a discount card available to purchase from local businesses with your stroll number printed on it. The front of the card was your number and the back of the card featured six different discounts you could use at local area businesses(with an expiration date of February 14!). If your number matched one found hanging in the businesses you won a chance for your number to be drawn for cash prizes. A separate drawing was held to win Townsend scrip money, which can be spent at any local business.
There were mixed reviews on the street and in the businesses, about the discount cards. Some business owners believed it was a great way to get people into the local businesses and having the discounts on the back of the card you could earn the $5 back, paying for the card pretty easily. Others believed that having the discount cards for sale instead of free numbers in the newspaper was dropping the amount of overall participation in the stroll.
For those walking the street participating, the feelings were also mixed. Some felt the discount cards were a good idea and enjoyed being able to support the local businesses. They also liked that they could get multiple numbers, one for each person in their family; which also meant more discounts. One individual even stated, “try it for a couple years and see how things go, change is never accepted the first year!” Others liked things “the way they used to be” with people selling on the sidewalks and trailers parked in the streets and number available right on the map.
The number of people participating in the stroll was down this year, compared to years past, but there was still a sense of excitement and community as people visited shops they hadn’t been in yet, saw people they hadn’t seen for a while, and enjoyed the Christmas season starting to appear up and down the streets of Townsend. Overall, the Christmas Stroll was a success and many who had never participated said they had a good turn-out with people truly enjoying themselves.
Winners of the cash drawings are Les Morehouse, $100; Peggy Lieberman, $200; and John Thompson, $500.