AUGUSTA — John Dumas’ hand-painted illustrations of the Miser brothers — Snow Miser and Heat Miser — greet visitors along Water Street Hill into downtown Augusta on Saturday, Dumas Wearing Santa’s familiar red and white suit, I did the same outside The Studio, where his work is on display.
Dumas’ artwork featuring characters from the classic 1974 holiday TV special “The Year Without Santa” adorned many other windows in downtown with holiday-themed decorations during the day and the Kennebec River as part of the festivities planned for the evening on both sides of the city, which also includes a visit to Santa, the annual Christmas tree lighting and fireworks.
“I really want to make the little ones happy,” Dumars said of his participation in the holiday festivities. He also painted characters from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas on another window in The Studio as part of Gallant Therapy Services’ program for adults with disabilities. Inside, he made art selling winter hats, including snowman Frosty and Yukon Cornelius.
Dreams Bridal Boutique also got into the festive spirit, decorating its Water Street dress shop with pale green and red dresses and gingerbread men.
Deirdre Berglund, the store’s bridal consultant, said they wanted to be part of a kid-focused celebration downtown, though a bridal shop wouldn’t necessarily sell items that would appeal to kids.
“We try to promote local celebrations,” said Berglund, noting that they displayed “Bride of Frankenstein” at last month’s downtown Halloween event. Bridal shops don’t necessarily see a boom when there are special events downtown, but they like to help support other businesses there, she said. She says downtown is a great place to set up shop because the bridal party can go to downtown restaurants to celebrate after choosing a gown.
At Merkaba Sol, a new-age Metaphysical store that includes a chocolate section with about 275 different kinds of sweets, owners David and Bishop Hopkins say Saturday business days — traditionally known as Small Business Saturdays — have been a good one. Good and will probably increase as more events take place in the afternoon before the fireworks.
“It was fun, and everyone was having a good time,” David Hopkins said, shrink-wrapping the store-bought bath salt mix with a plastic seal. “Everyone is involved, which is good. The only way to survive is to help each other.”
Bishop Hopkins said they were now making more of their own items for resale at Merkaba Sol to help with rising inventory buying costs.
They both say candy is a hot item for gift giving and they sold around 600 boxes of chocolates last Christmas.
Just across the street at T and K Tactical, Tony Lewis showed two customers a gun while his two Bernese Mountain dogs played in the store. He said Saturday’s downtown event didn’t really help his business and actually made it harder for customers to get there when parts of the street were closed to traffic and parking. But he noted that the location has been a good place for his business anyway since he moved last June. Customers were buying firearms and ammunition, gift certificates and accessories as holiday gifts, he said.
“It’s a great place, there’s a lot of foot traffic and other businesses welcome it,” Lewis said.
At Wrapped Up, a cafe and restaurant, co-owner Ryan Hill was working the counter on Saturday morning, but at 3 p.m. he said co-owner Shawn Bloodsworth was expected to come to work so he could go and enjoy the holiday festivities with him. young family.
Escorted by police and fire trucks, Santa and several costumed characters circled many Augusta neighborhoods Saturday afternoon, where they were greeted by waving children. Old Fort Western, across the river from downtown, has hosted Christmas events in the past. The annual tree lighting ceremony is held in Water Street Market Square, followed by a fireworks display.
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