Window displays light up Second Street in Marietta

Photo by Janelle Patterson The Second Street windows of Peoples Bank in Marietta shine onto the dark street Tuesday with holiday cheer from Santa’s reindeer.

It’s the first taste of the holiday season, with windows downtown sporting fluffy snow scenes, bright lights and garland.

“Traditionally families walk around downtown around Thanksgiving and look at the window displays in all of the shops. It’s nice to have our windows done up in the same fashion. It’s become a part of the tradition for many families,” said Shawn Taylor, vice president of commercial business for Peoples Bank in Marietta.

For 14 years the six windows on the Second Street side of the main branch has given onlookers a glimpse back in time with vintage characters animated in Christmas scenes.

Set up the windows was completed Monday and Tuesday by Crown Florals of Parkersburg and the scenes will now be lit with holiday music between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. through the end of December.

“Fourteen years ago the bank approached our company about a holiday design for the windows to go in with all of the other decorations merchants put up around this time of year,” said Keith McClung, owner of Crown Florals in Parkersburg. “Now it’s our longest running decor project Crown Florals does.”

Photo by Janelle Patterson Keith McClung adjusts Santa’s glasses in the Peoples Bank holiday window display in Marietta Tuesday.

This year there’s a new theme in the six windows, “Santa’s Reindeer Barn.”

Valerie Nicely, of Williamstown, and her sons Nate, 10, and Frederick, 12, stopped by the windows Tuesday after dropping off shoes at Cobbler John’s.

“They’re very festive each year,” said Valerie. “I like the Santa and the fireplace, but I love fireplaces.”

Meanwhile Nate pointed out the faces of the elves and Frederick focused on the use of lights throughout all six window displays.

“All the reindeer come from the McDonald’s corporate offices in Chicago from the 1950s,” explained McClung. “My wife and I have almost 200 characters in our warehouse so with these, you get a little glimpse of what we think the reindeer barn on the North Pole would look like on Christmas Eve.”

Photo by Janelle Patterson Frederick Nicely, 12, of Williamstown, points out Mrs. Claus on the mantle of the fireplace in the Peoples Bank holiday display in Marietta Tuesday.

The six windows include stables, with elves prepping the reindeer for their journey around the world.

“Then there’s Santa checking his list, with a calendar and Christmas Eve circled,” added McClung. “And the last window has Rudolph getting his final flight instructions. It’s a detailed experience, similar to what the windows in the big cities look like this time of year.”

Nate even found Mrs. Claus after looking closely past Santa.

“It gets you in the mood for Christmas, plus we do our shopping here and eat on this side of the river,” said Valerie.

But the magic behind the scenes is more than just a lighted display. There’s machinery to be oiled, a creative process to be tweaked and finally motors to be drowned out with holiday music.

“Having an office on this side of a display is interesting, but seeing the families that come down, the kids’ faces make it worth it,” said Taylor.

McClung said what used to take two to three days to put together the windows can now be accomplished in about a day and a half.

“There’s a lot more preparation beforehand getting things oiled and organized after our Christmas in July meeting with the bank to get the general design and theme approved,” he explained. “Then the design details are really in our heads until we start setting up. But from the moment we start installing in the windows, kids come knocking and pointing out the new details.”

But the holiday cheer doesn’t stop at the windows of the bank. The interior’s trees, garland and decor are also accomplished through the Crown Florals team.

“We also decorate the main lobby,” he said. “It’s all about creating the magic and keeping it going.”