The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Savannah at the Annual Wright Square Merchants’ Holiday Open House.
On Nov. 30, local businesses illuminated Wright Square with an after-dark celebration. For the 10th time, this annual celebration sought to bring independent retailers together with like-minded shoppers for an evening of good cheer.
“Always one of the most fun nights of the year!” said Savannahian Lawrence Hyde.
The lampposts on Wright Square were entwined with white lights and topped with evergreen wreaths secured by red bows. Even the normally humorless City of Savannah Mobility and Parking Services Department was in the mood allowing the parking meters to be adorned with floating star balloons.
The streets were alive with the cheery sounds of winter market enjoyment and caroling from Ellen Gross, Bill Smith, Sara Todd and Larry Carlise. Smiling shoppers laughed aloud as horse carts clomped over the cobblestone streets.
Santa Claus even made an appearance. He dressed in the traditional red suit, beard and boots and walked around strumming a guitar merrily taking requests and prompting singalongs with the passing shoppers. Across the square the cable knit sweaters of the Irish duo of “Seldom Sober” played formal compositions on violins to keep the crowds smiling and the shop doors welcoming.
The holiday tradition of giving was echoed around the square. Many stores offered discounted prices and other shops offered cookies and punch to entice shoppers inside. Local bakery Mabel Francis Potter’s Cupcake Emporium was packed full of shoppers enjoying free samples.
Taking the tradition of giving to the next level, several businesses in the Wright Square shopping district supported charity and nonprofit organizations.
The Jewelry Consignment Network on Bull Street partnered with Goodwill Industries for a charity raffle, donating diamond earrings, men’s watches and gift certificates. This marks the first time that a local business has donated to support the newly created Job Connection Center. Goodwill Corporate Advisor Tammie Blaha was happy to see the event supporting charity. “So far it’s been great … lots of people are in the holiday spirit. It’s the time to give.”
As the 9 p.m. closing hour came and went many businesses around Wright Square were still open. The lights stayed on as the voices and songs continued to usher the holidays into the heart of Savannah.