Downtown Watertown to Become a Christmas Destination
Over the last couple of years, the Watertown Development Company (WDC), the organization known for marketing Watertown as a destination for businesses to relocate, has made it its mission to take an active role in the redevelopment of downtown, including participation in the development of The Lofts, Parkside Place, the redevelopment of many empty downtown buildings, and soon, the development of a new downtown park. Now the WDC is working to transform the city center into a beacon of holiday cheer over the holidays.
The seasonal celebration will be called “A Merry & Bright Christmas”.
The WDC is committed to creating more family-friendly events in Downtown Watertown to complement the events that are already put on by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Watertown Committee.
“Through the assistance of some local sponsors, we are excited to announce that the WDC will contribute a significant amount of time, and effort towards providing a one-of-a-kind family-friendly shopping experience all month long,” said Chris Schilken, WDC Executive Director. “Christmas is a wonderful season that brings together family and friends who spread cheer and give thanks for the many blessings we have. Thanks to continued support for Downtown by our investors and sponsors, it is now possible for us to make Downtown Watertown a Christmas destination.”
Downtown will be converted into the “North Pole of Downtown,” with giant decorations, lighted boulevard trees, and a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree. Many of the shops and businesses of Downtown will convert their storefronts into a “Window Wonderland”, an event hosted by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, featuring installations curated by local artists, and a grove of live Christmas trees—decorated by families, business, and organizations from throughout Watertown—will fill The Lofts retail area.
Because of the Covid pandemic, trade shows and other marketing opportunities have been canceled, limiting WDC staff for places to market Watertown as a place for businesses to locate. The only other option is to draw the attention of shoppers, and prospective businesses and retailers – to them.
WDC Director of Marketing Traci Stein said, “The pandemic has really taken a toll on our businesses, and therefore Watertown’s retail sales numbers have suffered, so the WDC is trying to create a buzz-worthy experience for our downtown businesses to try and get those numbers back up. The WDC is committed to making sure our businesses survive and conquer, and to show prospective retailers we are committed to the continued growth of Watertown.”
A Merry & Bright Downtown Christmas begins with three events on the weekend of November 27th. Things kick-off on Thursday, November 26th, with the Holiday Lighted Parade featured by the Downtown Watertown Committee, and the lighting of the official Christmas tree of Watertown and Christmas Tree Extravaganza, hosted by the WDC, and an opportunity to meet Santa Clause.
The annual Holiday Lighted Parade rolls through Downtown on Thursday, November 26th. The parade is held annually by the Downtown Watertown Committee and marks the “official” arrival of Santa in Watertown. Santa will be on a float in the parade and children are encouraged to bring their letters for Santa to mail to the North Pole.
The Christmas Tree Extravaganza begins on Friday, November 27th. The Extravaganza is a friendly Christmas tree decorating competition open to all businesses, organizations, families, and creative individuals throughout Watertown. Participants will decorate trees to display throughout the holiday season in a grove at The Lofts. Visitors can vote on their favorite tree online and in person. Winners of the competition will be announced in a grand finale event on December 18th. Those interested in participating in the Extravaganza can find more information on the Extravaganza Kick-Off page.
A web page has been dedicated to the event. You can view the event schedule and registration page for the Extravaganza at www.wdcsd.com/christmas.
Sponsors of the Merry & Bright Christmas include the Watertown Area Community Foundation, The Watertown Lions Club, Dial – A – Move, Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, Benchmark Foam, Mavericks, Target, and KXLG Radio.