MARIETTA - The weather was anything but frightful, and the brisk evening air and festivities were downright delightful at Friday's Holiday Merchants and Artists Walk in downtown Marietta and the Harmar Village.
Clear, starry skies and mild fall temperatures set the mood as clusters of friends greeted one another along Front Street.
"The weather is perfect and we don't have to run from store to store in the rain," said holiday "walker" Donna Dunn, 60, of Oak Grove.
Photo by Sharon Bopp
Customers at Friday’s Holiday Merchants and Artists Walk enjoy refreshments and time to reconnect at Marietta’s Fine Art and Framing Gallery.
Lisa Westfall, 44, of Charleston, was in agreement.
"It's not too hot, it's not too cold," she said.
Were it not for the sound of car engines on the street, the setting could be mistaken for a step back into Marietta's days gone by.
A smiling gentleman played a yesteryear song on a calliope set up in front of American Flags and Poles, a local church handed out bags of popped corn, older couples strolled along the sidewalk hand in hand and the holiday spirit was in full swing.
"The beginning of November starts feeling like Christmas to me," said Emma Maddocks, 15, of Waterford.
Santa Claus, who had stopped by to hear the Christmas lists of good girls and boys at Merle Norman Cosmetics, was excited about the season too.
"Of course, I am always in the holiday spirit!" he declared.
Santa pays a visit to the cosmetics store every year, according to makeup artist Amanda Warden.
Warden's ho-ho-ho spirit kicked into gear about a week ago.
"I bought my first Christmas present and started decorating," she said.
Shopping was on the minds of many holiday walkers Friday.
Maddocks and her friend Valerie Adams, 14, of Waterford said they enjoy shopping in Marietta.
"There's interesting stuff, unique stuff," Maddocks said.
Both agreed that they prefer Marietta stores to shopping malls.
"Instead of going to the mall, it's better to come here," said Maddocks.
B.J. McMahan, a Marietta jewelry designer, was displaying her creations inside the Old Town Bakery. This was her sixth time as a featured artist at the merchants and artists walks.
McMahan, who had sold several rings and bracelets during the event, said the walks are "so much fun."
"This ushers in Christmas. People are smiling, they're on the street. It's just a lovely feeling," she added.
More Christmas spirit will be ushered in during the Marietta Christmas Parade, to be held Nov. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m.
The parade kicks off at the corner of Hart and Fourth streets. The parade will then move up Ohio Street, down Second Street to Greene Street. It will then turn up Front Street, down Putnam Street and will end at Second Street.
ReSTORE Marietta's Holiday Loft Tour is another favorite for those attending the Holiday Merchants and Artists Walk.
"We love the loft tour," said Joy Haynes, 70, of Belpre and her daughter Dena Watson, 49, of Belpre.
"You just wonder how they get their (household) items upstairs," Haynes added.
This year's Holiday Loft Tour is scheduled for Dec. 8. For information, contact ReSTORE Marietta at 740-885-8194.
Carrie Costin, 30, of Westlake, who grew up in the Marietta area and was at Friday's holiday walk, said she is looking forward to the Betsey Mills Club's Holiday Tour of Homes, planned for Dec. 12.
"We used to do the tour of homes. It's one of my favorite things to do at the holidays," said Costin.
The home tour is planned for 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 12. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
The tour will feature the historic homes and buildings of Dr. Joseph and Diane Bruno, 301 Fifth St.; Joyce Robinson and Judy Phillips, 606 Washington St.; Nancy and Jeff Hollister, 613 Sixth St.; Phyllis and John Myers, 440 Fifth St.; and Christ United Methodist Church, 301 Wooster St.