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The Wilmington Jaycees Christmas Parade is a beloved holiday tradition on Market, and at the end of the parade this year, all that accumulated holiday spirit poured itself into Willingtown Square for the first-ever Market Street Pop-Up Holiday Village. There were vendors selling their wares, police canines visiting from the Wilmington Police Department, and Hotsy Totsy gals singing carols in the square … and outnumbering them all, hundreds of Market Street denizens ready to start the season right, according to our source on the inside, Lani Schweiger from Downtown Visions:

“I had the clicker, so I know how many people we had. It was 626. We didn’t really open until 11, but people started arriving before 9 o’clock. I guess we did have Christmas music playing on our speakers, so people were rolling in before the parade like, ‘What's this? What's this noise? What's happening over here?’

“Downtown Visions, Wilmington Alliance, and the Delaware Historical Society – three organizations that are here to promote the downtown – came together to make this happen. We put out a call out to all of the downtown businesses to say, hey, if you would like to have a stand at the market, we encourage you to come down. I know that LoMa Coffee sold out of hot chocolate and coffee at one point and had a call the store to get another shipment. It was cold, but UDairy had ice cream sandwiches. And the Wilmington Public Library gave out over a hundred books at the event, story books for the kids and cookbooks to the adults.”

“And then we had outside vendors selling affordable, unique Christmas items. A lot of people were shopping, buying anything from custom tie-dyed clothing and hats, to beeswax wraps, handmade soaps, and some cool custom stone jewelry. I’ve already had a few ask me to sign them up for next year.”

“Downtown Visions installed the lights with the help of some of our ambassadors and one of the guys at the Historical Society. The dramatic lighting is on the perimeters of the buildings, shooting up into the trees. It's theatrical and festive. The tree trunks are wrapped. The gates of the fence are lined with lights and there's a little arch. There's a festive disco holiday ball in the center that we custom made. Willingtown Square is a great space that the public can use, and the lights will be up through February 22, on a timer to light up at dusk. The gates are locked at 9, but if you're just downtown for the art loop, you should come off by and walk through.”

“I think the parade was the best one I've seen yet, and I've been coming down here for forever. It's a tradition with me and my kids. It was certainly the longest parade I've seen. And you’re getting the Hockessin crowd, Pike Creek and North Wilmington people, because people love to see this stuff at the holidays.”

#WillingtownSquare #DowntownVisions #DelawareHistoricalSocietyResearchLibrary #DowntownWilmington #NewMarketWIlm #WilmingtonDelaware


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