COLUMBIA — A downtown tradition that falls on the first Friday of December will be celebrated again from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
The Living Windows Festival is a holiday celebration with open houses, strolling carolers, holiday treats, free carriage rides, music, a live Nativity scene and visits with Santa.
A number of downtown shops also will stage live holiday performances for onlookers in their windows. It all takes place against a backdrop of holiday lights.
This year, for example, Bluestem Missouri Crafts on Ninth Street is handing out bell bracelets for children. The theme is jingle bells.
"It's a very nice family event, especially for the little kids to do and see," said Mary Benjamin, one of the Bluestem partners. Bluestem has been a part of the celebration since it began.
Fifteen other shops will participate with open houses, music and refreshments.
"It's as much for us as it is for the people on the street quite frankly," Barbara McCormick, owner of Poppy, 920 E. Broadway.
Other participating businesses are Binghams, 827 E. Broadway; The Butterfly Tattoo, 36 N. Ninth St.; Calhoun's, 36 N. Ninth St.; The Dance Closet, 909 Cherry St.; Elly's Couture, 914 E. Broadway; Envy, 814 E. Broadway; Makes Scents, 19 S. Ninth St.; Manhattan Closet; 906 E. Broadway; Maude Vintage, 818 E. Broadway; Mustard Seed, 25 S. Ninth St.; My Secret Garden, 16 N. Ninth St.; Pen Point Paperie, 913 E. Broadway; Swank Boutique, 921 E. Broadway; and the Villager, 916 E. Broadway.
The Living Windows Festival also launches the District's holiday shopping hours. For a map and more information, go to discoverthedistrict.com.