The Downtown Waterfront District is getting to look more like Christmas. Over the weekend, merchants started decorating their storefront windows as part of the 's "Candlelight Christmas in the Harbor" festivities.
It's the first year for what will be an annual "Deck the Windows" contest aimed at drawing people to the downtown district by giving it that "old-fashioned, small town Christmas feel," said Mary DesMarais, GHWWA executive director. "We want to create a really fun shopping environment for them."
About 20 merchants have signed on to participate, including , Heidi's Sweet Shop, and . Their windows must be decorated by Thursday, Dec. 1 to be considered for prizes awarded by a panel of judges on Friday, Dec. 2.
After that, they have a shot at the "People's Choice" award. Shoppers and other visitors to the downtown district get to pick their favorite window between Dec. 3 and Dec. 23 by placing their votes in ballot boxes at participating businesses.
First and second place winners selected by the panel of judges will receive $50 and $25, respectively. The business designated the "People's Choice" gets a special certificate.
Gig Harbor residents will have plenty of reasons to head downtown and pick their favorite. The voting coincides with the rollout of numerous other downtown holiday attractions, starting with the , in Skansie Brothers Park.
The GHHWA is hoping its other Candlelight Christmas events will draw crowds as They include a community "Hark the Harbor" caroling event on Tuesday, Dec. 6, to be held at Skansie Park in advance of the arrival of the Argosy Christmas Ship. It is also putting on holiday hayrides with Santa again this year. The free rides start out on Judson St. and will be available from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10.