ALBEMARLE — At the Albemarle City Council’s June 15 meeting, Main Street Manager Joy Almond presented the results from a survey of businesses she had been asked to perform for the council.
“A majority of the downtown businesses that I polled were in favor of combining the downtown Christmas Open House and the Christmas Parade on the same day,” Almond said. “And then I polled the retail and restaurants in their own poll, as these types of events largely benefit these types of businesses, and as you’ll see, 46%, almost half of them, are in favor of combining both of those events.”
The businesses had been offered four options, so 46% was the most popular by far. When asked what the options were that she had offered, Almond said:
“We had the option to keep the schedule as is, with the Downtown Christmas Open House held the Friday before Thanksgiving, and the parade held the second Saturday morning. Option two was to move the Downtown Open House to the first Friday in December and keep the parade on the second Saturday morning. And the third option was to combine the two events. We did not specify a date but I did have that option. And then, lastly, there was no preference.”
She was then asked, “So you have a consensus that most of them wanted to combine, but what date are you recommending?”
“That is another question that I need to go to businesses with,” Almond said.
She said that the majority of retailers close in the afternoon on Saturdays, so “if we’re looking at a Saturday when we combine these events, I need to know who is going to be open for this.”
The Downtown Christmas typically happens on Friday night, which councilmembers agreed would have more businesses open than a Saturday night. But some worried it would conflict with high school football.
She said most businesses downtown open at 9 or 10am and close around 2pm on Saturday. But if they did a morning parade, some restaurants that say their business is breakfast say a morning parade interferes with their business. Another councilmember said they should make sure not to choose a date that other local municipalities traditionally have their Christmas events.
The council agreed that Almond should go back to the businesses with some options, now that they agreed to combine the events, and see what everyone thought would be best.
Another said, don’t make it too late, because it gets cold and people will leave immediately after the parade is done.