Small businesses in downtown Sand Springs have banded together in a Christmas Coalition to promote holiday festivities for the whole month of December.
Beginning November 28th, many downtown businesses will be open later hours every Tuesday leading up to Christmas. The first Tuesday will include caroling, food trucks, and a tree-lighting ceremony with Mayor Mike Burdge at 7:00 p.m. Papa Pat's barbecue and Kettle Treats will be on hand from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
"We want people to eat where they shop and shop where they eat," said Joanna Sporleder, owner of Joni's on the Triangle hair salon. Part of getting people to spend more time in downtown means creating special occasions to draw people in and show them what the town has to offer.
While the first year of festivities will be limited, the group has big goals for the future. Local Santa Clause Glenn Burkett wants to see OmniTRAX set up some type of Polar Express on the Sand Springs Railroad. Other ideas included a live nativity scene with involvement from the Charles Page High School drama department.
The coalition also wants to use the festivities as an opportunity to gather donations for organizations like Sand Springs Community Services (SSCS) and the Salvation Army, with businesses offering discounts to patrons who bring in toys and canned foods. "SSCS has been a huge influence in my life," said Sporleder. "I want to try and give back if I can."
SSCS will also be holding a food drive at the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. The 35th annual parade will be held Friday, December 1st with a "Winter Nights and Magical Lights" theme.
The Chamber of Commerce is taking a vested interest in helping out with the coalition and is covering the cost of City Permits and other expenses, as well as helping to coordinate festivities. Keller Williams Realtor Jennifer Fox Barretto, Rod's Books and Antiques owner Rodney Thomas, Dog and Duck Antiques owners Chris and Julie Bedokis, and Yesterday to Now owner Susan Whitley are all involved in the brainstorming and planning.