Get a head-start on checking off gifts on your list and shop local during this weekend’s Holiday Retail Open House. The Newton Chamber of Commerce and retail chamber members are gearing up for the kick-off to a great holiday shopping season.
Stop by downtown stores from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The weekend event will feature a few new activities this year with a strolling Santa Claus and story time with Santa on Saturday.
Catch Santa for storybook time at Choices Book Store at 1 p.m. Saturday, and at Mattingly Music and Books on at 1 p.m. Sunday. Santa will be in the downtown both days from noon to 2 p.m.
Amanda Price, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said the event will also feature a Iowa Speedway Pace Car on the southwest corner of the square. The speedway will have a sleigh on display for great photo opportunities, she said.
A live pianist will play from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday and holiday music from the children’s choir is set for 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Newton Senior High School DECA students will be offering hot beverages and baked goods on both Saturday and Sunday while supplies last.
“Santa will be walking around more this year and he will be more interactive with kids and families,” Price said. “Story time with Santa is new this year, and it’ll be a great thing for kids to do while parents are shopping.”
To add some additional Christmas cheer, Newton Main Street began to place Christmas trees around the square. The 13 trees were installed by Randy Ray and will be decorated by area businesses and families.
“The Main Street’s design committee came up with the idea as we usually do bunker decorations and we thought this would be a bigger display,” Graham Sullivan, Main Street director, said. “Main Street and SSMID partnered on the project.”
In honor of Veterans Day, the American Legion will also be present with a few special events. Veterans can also enjoy a 10 percent discount with a military ID at participating retailers.
The Skiff Hospital gift shop will be open during the open house on Saturday only. It offers unique gifts including baby and toddler clothing.
Many downtown businesses will be offering exclusive store deals and refreshments. The Farmer’s Wife owner Bonnie Terpstra said she plans to have door prizes.
Price said the weekend will be a true kick-off to the holidays.
“I think it’s very important to the community because it’s a way to show local shops support,” Price said. “Before Christmas, times get crazy, I think this is a good time to step back and shop local instead of going to big box retailers or shopping online.”
Price said all of the money spent stays in the community and chamber members also help support fun and free community events.
“The event has taken us as about six months to plan, not just the chamber but also downtown business owners have been a huge part of this,” Price said. “They have very precious time.”
Price said attendees can follow the Chamber’s Facebook page leading up to the event for exclusive store deals.
“Bring your kids and the whole family and just stop by for awhile,” Price said. “There’s also the new women’s boutique in town and two popular home decor stores that people seem to enjoy — I think there’s something for everyone.”
Contact Kayla Singletary at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org