WINONA – Today is the official start of the holiday season in Montgomery County. The annual Christmas Open House for Winona retailers begins today with deep discounts, festive refreshments, and loads of Christmas cheer.
Open House will continue throughout the weekend, with several Winona retailers opening their doors Sunday afternoon as well.
According to Winona Main Street Director Sue Stidham, the Christmas Open House draws people from as far away as Cleveland, Southaven, and Columbus to Winona to shop in the many gift shops and eat in Winona’s restaurants.
“We are fortunate,” Stidham said. “We have a pretty good following from the Delta, and other areas around the region. That is probably due to the quality of our gift shops here.”
Stidham said many people travel from Greenwood, Grenada, Eupora, Mathiston, Maben, Kosciusko, and Carroll County to shop the Winona Christmas Open House.
Gay Hammond, owner of Hammond’s Pharmacy and Gifts, said, “My favorite thing about the Christmas Open House is seeing all of the visitors and customers we only see once a year because they are from out of town. Getting to visit with them is my favorite thing.”
Hammond said in her 14 years of participating in the Christmas Open House, people have traveled as far as Jackson, Memphis, Alabama, and other cities hundreds of miles away to shop in Winona.
As the official kickoff to the Holiday season, Trisha Windham, owner of Special Treasures, said she and her staff try to set the mood for the holiday season.
“We try to bring in the atmosphere of the holiday season,” Windham said. “It’s dripping with Christmas. We have Christmas candles burning, Christmas music playing, and the smell of apple cider [in the air]. It is the warm fuzzy feeeling people talk about.”
Aaron Dees, owner of The Front Porch, has been preparing for his very first Holiday Open House.
“It has been fun, but challenging,” Dees said about preparations for the event. “Being the first time I’ve done the open house, it was really fun to do all the decorating for The Front Porch, but we are a little different than a regular retailer, we have 54 different vendors under one roof, each decorating their own spot.”
Also, local artists and crafters will be selling their fares at the second annual Merry Christmas Market on Saturday, November 16 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Haley School of Performing Arts in the Winona Depot.
According to organizer and Winona watercolorist Keetha Mosley, there is no admission fee and refreshments and door prizes will be given away.
Mosley said there are 12 different vendors participating this year selling pottery, Christmas ornaments, note cards, greeting cards, original art, homemade decorated Christmas cookies, holiday décor items, homemade casseroles and desserts, hair bows, handmade jewelry, and more.
For more information on Merry Christmas Market, contact Mosley at 662-392-6346.