Trees are adorned, shops are lit, and the Discover Flagstaff team and the Downtown Business Alliance (DBA) invite residents and guests to shop, take away, go for a walk and enjoy the local vacation atmosphere in Arizona Winter Wonderland – a designation that was proclaimed by Governor Doug Ducey.
According to Terry Madeksza, director of the DBA, 95% of downtown stores are locally owned and unique. They offer a mix of galleries, boutiques, restaurants and outdoor leisure outfitters, as well as gifts that cannot be found anywhere else. "There is something for everyone, even a present for you!" She said. "It's always important to shop locally, but this year more than ever, we want to support the small businesses and encourage people to buy their gifts by going to these independent businesses."
According to Madeksza, street trees, roof lines and light poles are decorated throughout the city center. “It looks like the holidays. Wheeler Park looks just amazing. "
Among the delightful surprises this year, the Arizona Handmade Gallery features cool blue glass ornaments from the winter wonderland created by local glassblower George Averbeck. The Sweet Shoppe makes the Christmas season particularly delicious with blue and white granulated sugar snowballs made from white chocolate and marshmallow.
"There are some really great local companies out there that offer freshly ground or whole bean take away coffee, as well as a not-to-be-missed hot cocoa blend with packaged goodness that will surely have you craving more," said City of Flagstaff PR manager Lori Pappas.
Think about it, says Pappas, since many of us are planning small celebrations back home and thinking about take-out restaurants in Flagstaff's wide range of exceptional eateries.
The Great Pinecone, Flagstaff's traditional New Year's Eve symbol of hope, created by Weatherford hotel owners Henry Taylor and Pamela "Sam" Green, stands high above the streets and hangs on the dome of the historic hotel. And that's where it will stay for the holiday season and through to 2021, when Flagstaff virtually rings the new year.
"Instead of Flagstaff's New Year's Eve down parka, mittens, and scarves, this year's Great Pinecone Drop event just requires an electronic display device, your trusted comfy sweatshirt – or bring out the sequins in your own home – some hot chocolate goodness and your coziest hangout at home" said Pappas.
Due to concerns about the highly contagious coronavirus, Flagstaff city officials are stressing that there will be no live New Year's Eve event in the historic city center this year. However, viewers can still enjoy an authentic Flagstaff celebration on December 31st by entering pineconedrop.com. FBN
By Bonnie Stevens, FBN