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Peoples Bank continues animated holiday window festivities

Santa’s helpers dance gleefully around cans of paint and their work table as the scene shows them preparing for Christmas. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

MARIETTA — Tiny versions of Santa and his helpers in the North Pole delightfully dance to Christmas music in the six front window vignettes of Peoples Bank in Marietta on Second Street, a tradition that continues to bring joy to residents of all ages in the community.

For 17 years in a row, Peoples Bank has created scenes of holiday wonder for those to look at and enjoy as they walk by.

“For our windows this year we have new elves in there, so they are brighter and more festive elves versus our vintage elves,” said Callie Witkosky, Peoples Bank retail marketing. “Next year the elves will get a whole new outfit, a whole new setting, a whole new scene.”

The theme for the elves this year is, ‘Behind the Scenes of the North Pole,’ according to Witkosky.

The animatronics dance around Christmas trees, wield colorful paint brushes and cheerfully iron outfits as they prepare for their Christmas Eve duties. The music seemingly echoes throughout the downtown area.

“It brings the kid out in you, and it makes you kind of go back to your childhood and you remember getting so excited for the Christmas season,” Witkosky said.

Peoples Bank has partnered with Crown Florals in Parkersburg for the entire history of these window decorations, as Crown Florals is responsible for the creative execution.

“The Downtown Merchants Association of Marietta had asked Peoples Bank to fill the windows at Second and Putnam streets in the beginning,” said Keith McClung, the owner of Crown Florals. “Peoples Bank approves the windows, but they give us total creative control to come up with the design…we change the window theme every two to three years.”

McClung and his wife own more than 300 vintage decoration pieces, which means they have one of the largest collections in the nation.

“In the past years, we have always used very vintage characters, but then we decided we wanted to go with something a bit more whimsical,” McClung said.

For those who love the vintage style, those pieces are still available for nostalgic enjoyment in the windows of the Insurance Department of Peoples Bank on Putnam Street. A memorable piece, the vintage ‘Sleeping Santa,’ is still included in the new theme on Second Street.

Despite a new appearance, the body frames and motors that the new elves are built upon are from the 1950s and 1960s, according to McClung.

“We took characters from our inventory that were in poor condition, but the animation and all of the parts worked very well, so we deconstructed the old characters and rebuilt the new elves on top of the motors,” McClung said. “It is one of our favorite projects of the year… the bank loves doing this and investing in downtown Marietta, especially during COVID. The community needs this.”

Witkosky also echoed the sentiment of this tradition amid a year of chaos and unpredictability.

“This year has been so weird, and we wanted to bring normalcy and to crank up the festive,” Witkosky said. “We brought our windows in actually a week earlier and they installed them quicker so we can have holiday cheer.”

Jenna Pierson may be reached at jpierson@newsandsentinel.com

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