Warm up with Whimsical Windows
By Jim Bucher
While escorted in the Five Rivers MetroParks van on a trip through downtown recently, my backseat companion and friend Montgomery County Communications Director and former Ch. 7 news personality Cathy Petersen said upon passing the Rike’s, or rather the Schuster Center’s Wonderland Windows, “That’s the bar to hit.” (With a laugh, of course.)
She’s referring to our quest to find the best “Whimsical Window” in the center city for the holidays.
Cathy, along with Downtown Dayton Partnership President Sandy Gudorf, local newspaper columnist, and blogger Amelia Robinson, our driver extraordinaire, Executive Director of Five Rivers MetroParks Becky Benná, and yours truly were invited to judge the contest. Coordinated by the partnership’s PR and communications wiz Val Hunt Beerbower. Don’t know how she did it, but, Val, you pulled it off again!
Here’s how it works:
For the past several years, downtown businesses have been invited to participate in the contest. Businesses go pane-to-pane to compete for one of three prize categories. All participants are judged based on content, creativity, and incorporation of the business into the display.
The other two prizes are awarded based on votes in an online poll and a social media contest to see who can get the most “likes,” shares, or reactions on their display link.
Each winning category is awarded a $300 cash prize, which is nothing to sneeze at when you’re a small, locally owned business.
And speaking of panes, it truly was a pain picking a winner.
“Our local businesses are absolute gems of our city, and they shine especially bright this time of year. What a thrill it is to see so many participate in the Whimsical Windows competition,” Cathy says. “It was difficult to choose the most creative because they were all so amazing.”
The businesses participating in the 2016 Whimsical Windows contest are Arepas & Co., Baker Salvage, Brim, Clash Dayton, Greater Dayton RTA, Heart Mercantile, K12 Gallery & TEJAS, Keller Williams, Lily’s Bistro, Link Dayton, Linwood Men’s Specialty Shoppe, Luna Gifts and Botanical, Nucleus CoShare, Spice Paradise, Starred by Tamika, Strings Attached, Table 33, The Architectural Group, Carr’s Photography, and The Trolley Stop.
Now, here’s the cool part. Don’t take it from us: you have a chance to weigh in on Whimsical Windows, too. Visit the Downtown Dayton Partnership’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/DowntownDayton. You’ll learn about each business with links and, of course, information on how to cast your vote. Gosh, just when you thought the election was over, huh? All the window pictures are there, too.
Now, you know I’m a nostalgia guy, like a lot of you. Back in the day, when hundreds of businesses were downtown, it was simply magical during the holidays. It always amazed me how the Rike’s Department Store elves would transform the million-square-foot buildings, in what seemed like overnight, to a Christmas Wonderland.
Oh, with Santa’s sleigh, complete with reindeer adorning the outside of the building along Second and Main Streets.
I swear Rike’s added a reindeer each year. Does anyone remember that?
Can’t dwell on the past, but hold great memories near and dear. Downtown is in the midst of a renaissance. The housing, shops, lofts, new businesses popping up all the time… it is cool to see. And the people milling about are just awesome to see.
And it’s neat-o to experience… wait, does anyone say “neat-o” anymore? How old am I? My editor Amanda is probably rolling her eyes on that one.
Sorry, drifting there, didn’t take my Adderall today, but back to the contest. We judges, like wise men without the frankincense and myrrh, turned in our tallies. Now, it’s up to you. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!
You can do so up until Wednesday, Dec. 21.
As our tour of the town concludes, Sandy sums it up best:
“Downtown has a large collection of unique businesses, and the Whimsical Windows [event] offers another opportunity for us to showcase the skill and creativity of these entrepreneurs, as well as create an inviting and fun atmosphere for shoppers.”
She ain’t kidding. It was eye-opening to see some of the businesses this local boy wasn’t aware of. I gotta get out more.
And here I thought I knew everything about downtown…
Guess it’s true—you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Cheers, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and arf!
To vote for the most Whimsical Window, please visit Facebook.com/DowntownDayton.