In the words of that holiday lament song, We need a little Christmas right this very minute. Old Town is going to get just that this weekend.
Union Street businesses will host the first annual Christmas in July celebration July 16 through 18. More than 15 retailers and community and city organizations will present a host of activities both inside their establishments and along Union Street between Cameron and Duke streets.
Co-presented by The Christmas Attic and the merchants of Union Street, the three-day event will have something for everyone of all ages.
We wanted to get the businesses along Union Street stimulated in this economic downturn, said Fay Carter, owner, The Christmas Attic. Why celebrate Christmas just once a year?
To change that perception Carter has redesigned her business to appeal to more customers throughout the year not just during the yuletide season by moving Christmas items to the second floor and providing general gifts on the main level.
We also now have an ABC license which allows us to sell seasonal wines and we really boosted our inventory at the beginning of the year when so many others seemed to be pulling back, she said.
So far we have had a very good year, Carter claimed.
Coupled with their theme of Christmas in July, participating merchants have a dual purpose for this event under the banner Union Street Gives Back. This weekend, each participating business will have a donation box inside their store to collect toys for Carpenters Shelter.
Additionally, each merchant will be selling raffle tickets for prize drawings throughout the weekend. All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Festive activities include carolers, historical tours, holiday truck shows, food and wine tastings, children storybook time, ornament making, arts and crafts, fashion styling and the traditional pictures with Santa in this case, with Summer Santa, sunglasses and all.
For its part, The Christmas Attic, 125 S. Union St., will host a series of events each day: Tomorrow, it will host festive reception featuring Torpedo Factory artist Jackie Ehlem. Local jewelry artist Constance Harris offers a trunk show of her vintage inspired earrings and necklaces. and local author Walter Borotto will sign his new book, Presidential Risk. The celebration will continue throughout the weekend.
On July 17 and 18, from 10 a.m. to noon, children, adults and even pets can get their picture taken with Summer Santa. From 3 to 6 p.m. artist/designer David Strand will be debuting his new handmade Christmas ornaments; local jewelry artist and owner of Poppi, Dawn Benedetto, will be showcasing her new collection; and Tatiana Gottshall, owner of Russian Classics will have a trunk show of Russian ornaments and gifts.
Also participating in the citys first annual Christmas in July:
Alexandria Archaeology: A free historical tour of Union Street July 17 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Prince and Union streets: The Hidden History of Union Street Are We Walking on Water?
Architectural Ceramics, 203 S. Union St.: July 16 – An evening wine and sweets cocktail reception from 6 to 9 p.m.
Bike and Roll, 1 Wales Alley: $5 off a half-day rental and $10 off a full day rental or a historic Old Town package for those mentioning Christmas in July.
Birkenstock Store, 115 S. Union St.: 10 percent off all in-stock sandals all weekend, excluding special order and sale items.
Encore Consignment Boutique, 110 S. Union St.: 20 percent off entire store plus on July 17 from 10 to 11 a.m. and July 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., fashion styling/scarf accessorizing demonstrations.
Fishook Bakery&Coffeehouse, 105 S. Union St.: Christmas cookies all weekend and on July 17 and 18 at 1 p.m. Christmas Storybook time presented by Hooray for Books.
Mystique Jewelers & Potomac Riverboat Company, 211 The Strand: Secret Santa Sale plus holiday cosmos and jewelry truck show featuring local artists on July 16, 6 to 8 p.m. On July 17, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., a designer trunk show featuring holiday jewelry collections.
Old Town Coffee, Tea & Spice, 215 S. Union St.: 20 percent off all gift items plus tea tastings.
Old Town Gemstones, 6 Prince St.: Demonstrations throughout the weekend of adorned trees and gemstone/wire.
Potomac Riverboat Company, 205 The Strand: All weekend, Secret Santa promotion on cruise trips plus festive concessions on the boardwalk provided by Bittersweet Catering.
The Art League, 105 S. Union St.: Ornament making demonstrations by artist Norma Lasher July 17, from 2 to 4 p.m., and by Betsy LeBleu on July 18 from 1 to 3 p.m.
The Kilted Nation, 115 S. Union St.: Strolling bagpipe performances all weekend.
Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St.: July 16, Meet The Artists Wine Tasting Reception, 6 to 8 p.m.; July 17, an artist workshop at 11:30 a.m. with Julian Parker-Burns plus 10 percent off nativity sculptures at Lisa Schumaiers studio.
Union Street Public House, 121 S. Union St.: Food and beverage specials all weekend plus a Christmas cocktail party July 16 from 6 to 10 p.m. and Christmas cookie and ornament decorating for children and adults July 17 and 18 from noon to 3 p.m.
The Virginia Shop, 104 S. Union St.: Brass and pewter 20 percent off all weekend plus a complimentary bag of Virginia roasted peanuts while supplies last.
Windsor of Old Town & Gentlemans Quarters, 107 S. Union St.: 15 percent off any retail purchases plus a 15 percent off savings certificate on future purchases July 16 and 17.