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Malls, downtowns and shopping districts get into the spirit

November 27, 2018
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Hilldale Shopping Center is decked out for the holidays and is offering carolers and other events throughout December.

There is no shortage of holiday-themed events designed to draw shoppers to a variety of venues, and they include downtowns, malls and historic shopping districts throughout Dane County.

At West Towne and East Towne malls for example, the post-Black Friday events include pet photo nights from 6 to 9 p.m. on Mondays. The malls are also teaming up with Cherry Hill Programs and Autism Speaks to host Santa Cares, a sensory-friendly event for children and family members with all spectrums of special needs so they can enjoy the Santa photo experience in a calming environment prior to public hours. The West Towne event is Dec. 2 from 9 to 11 a.m while East Towne’s program is set for Dec. 9 from 9 to 11 a.m.

At Hilldale Shopping Center, where the mall’s outdoor Christmas tree was lit last week, Santa begins taking orders in the indoor atrium at Macy’s on Saturday. In addition, shoppers will hear performances by the Capitol City Carolers on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons and on Sundays experience the Wisconsin Dickens Carolers, who will be dressed in period costumes.

Weekday performances include the UW-Madison women’s a cappella group “Pitches and Notes” on Dec. 6 and singers from Memorial High School at 11 a.m. on Dec. 7.

One of the most anticipated events of the year will be on Monroe Street, which for months has been limited to traffic due to road constriction. The street, converted to a one-way in March, went back to a two-way street on Wednesday.

Because of a home football game that was held on Small Business Saturday, the Monroe Street Merchants Association is hosting a Holiday Glow on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will include a festive procession with the vintage Badger Trolleybus that will drive up and down Monroe Street starting at 10 a.m. at HotelRED with city officials, members of the Monroe Street Merchants Association board and representatives from Speedway Sand and Gravel joining Santa on the trolley, which will be led by MINI Cooper reindeer from MINI of Madison.

Santa will greet children at Monroe Commons in the 1800 block of Monroe Street at 11 a.m. and the trolley will give free rides to the public until 2 p.m. There will also be a kids treasure hunt, a book sale at the Monroe Street Library, caroling and refreshments at many of the participating businesses. In the evening, restaurants will offer “AfterGlow” drink and food specials, including the official debut of the Two Way IPA beer from 3 Sheeps Brewing Company, a follow up to the One Way IPA they created for Monroe Street establishments to offer during the months of roadwork.

In Madison’s Downtown, the Central Business Improvement District and Downtown Madison Inc. are promoting a free holiday trolley that will run up and down State Street and around the Capitol Square from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 22. Other events include performances by the Capitol Chordsmen, carolers and dancers on Saturdays throughout the Downtown.

In the suburbs of Dane County, Stoughton will host its Victorian Holiday weekend from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 with a tree lighting, the Stoughton High School Madrigal Singers, a book sale at the Stoughton Public Library and a Holiday Light Show at Stoughton Rotary Park. The event also includes a gala on Friday evening hosted by the Stoughton, Oregon & McFarland American Cancer Society Relay For Life that will take place at the Stoughton Cress Funeral Home.

In downtown Sun Prairie, the Business Improvement District is hosting a ladies night out from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 6. The event is designed to promote downtown businesses, most of which will have special pricing and unique deals.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 15, Waunakee’s growing downtown will host its first Christmas Shop Hop with special promotions, snacks and music at several downtown businesses.

In Mount Horeb, members of Vennelag Lodge Sons of Norway will host breakfast with Santa Saturday at the community center from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The day also includes a cookie walk at the library and a festive photo booth at the Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society, 100 S. 2nd St.

Send retail-related tips and story ideas to badams@madison.com or call Barry Adams at 608-252-6148.

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