Aberdeen Businesses in Holiday Spirit
By Tom Embrey
Camaraderie, creativity, conservation and a little bit of neighborly competition is the recipe for a new holiday tradition in downtown Aberdeen.
Downtown businesses have been decorating Christmas trees for the town's holiday tree lighting, which took place Tuesday, and for the annual Christmas parade Saturday. Located near Sycamore Street outside of the Train Depot, the five decorated trees represent businesses on Knight, Main, Poplar, South and Sycamore and Exchange streets.
"It makes the town looks nice and brings a little Christmas spirit," said Janet Kenworthy as she decorated the tree for Knight Street with snowflakes and feathers.
To cast a vote for your favorite tree, click here.
The businesses participating are: Railhouse Brewery, Jann Derby 60/40, Set in Stone/Miron Tile, Quality Upholstery, La Parlor, Upro, Potter's Cafe, Aberdeen Bead Co. and The Shop on South Street; Plan B, Bakehouse, Bryant House and Aberdeen Exterminating on Poplar Street; One Eleven Main, Aldena Frye Floral Design, Lil Branch's and Kees on Main Street; the Artists League of the Sandhills and WindowBox on Sycamore and Exchange streets; and The Rooster's Wife and Poplar Knight Spot on Knight Street.
Each tree has a unique look that ties in with the businesses.
The South Street tree has ceramic pots and mini coffee cups to represent Potter's Cafe and bottlecap ornaments from the Railhouse Brewery.
The Artists League adorned the tree representing Sycamore Street businesses with hand-painted ornaments.
"When you have competition, it brings out creativity," said Betty McDaniel, of the Artists League.
The Main Street tree features an all-natural look.
"We tried to do everything natural," decorator Matt Hollyfield said. "We used the bird nest, peanut butter and bird seed on the pine cones, fresh mountain apples, tied it all together with ribbon and a Scottish plaid ribbon.
"What we hoped is that when it is being judged, the birds will feed on it. Live animals would be an element you can't pay for."
The trees were on display during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Community members could vote for their favorite tree. The winner will be announced during the town's Christmas parade, which starts at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Aberdeen merchants purchased the trees from Reaves Nursery. After all the holiday festivities, the trees will be replanted around town.
The idea for the tree decorating came from Ariel Kowalick, owner of Set in Stone. She hopes the idea will become a sense of town pride and tradition while helping to strengthen a bond between businesses in a growing downtown.
"I love seeing teamwork," she says. "I love seeing our businesses come together. When you think about it, all our businesses are so unique, and I love how we can come together to create this beautiful thing. You are making new friends and making new contacts. We've been business neighbors for years, but some of us are just meeting now for the first time."
Last week, several downtown merchants braved brisk cold weather to decorate trees. And while each street has its own tree, it wasn't long before everyone was pitching in to help each other decorate.
"It's great to have a project where we all can get together, Kenworthy said, "because as independent business people, we don't always get a chance to get out and see each other."
And the business owners hope this project and future collaborations will have a more important effect.
"It's also about drawing the public to downtown," said artist and decorator Caroline Love.
Kowalick said she hopes this is a springboard to greater community involvement that will help make downtown Aberdeen a destination.
"Best is yet to come," she says. "More and more, Aberdeen is coming to together. This is just the beginning."
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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