Adriana Johnson, 4, of Canaan stands outside the window display of a Santa Claus and a unicorn at Lynette’s Cards and Gifts during the 25th annual Holiday Stroll in downtown Skowhegan on Dec. 2, 2017. The 2020 Holiday Stroll has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but other holiday-themed events are planned instead. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — Even though Main Street Skowhegan has canceled its annual Holiday Stroll because of the coronavirus pandemic, local officials are still promoting other holiday-themed events this month.

Earlier this fall, Main Street Skowhegan announced its plan to cancel the annual Holiday Stroll and to resume holding the annual event in December 2021. The event typically brings 1,500 people to downtown and officials made the decision amid increasing state and local COVID-19 cases in order to keep the community safe.

In its place, Skowhegan Outdoors, a project of Main Street Skowhegan, has planned a calendar of free family events beginning Saturday with a story walk in Coburn Woods. Following last year’s Whoville-themed Holiday Stroll, kids will walk through the woods while stopping to read storyboards of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We look forward to the stroll every year, so this decision is disappointing for all involved, but we felt it was the right thing to do,” said Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Kristina Cannon. “Although we can’t go all out and welcome hundreds of people to downtown Skowhegan for one afternoon, we’re excited to do what we can and offer safe outdoor activities for our community as well as incentives and new opportunities for people to shop locally.”

Other events this month include a Star Party and Ugly Sweater Stroll. The full calendar can be found at the Skowhegan Outdoors website.

The Holiday Stroll is now scheduled to resume Dec. 3-4, 2021, and has been a tradition of Skowhegan for more than 25 years, beginning with a parade on Friday evening and continuing into Saturday with free activities. Main Street Skowhegan is a nonprofit organization whose aim is to revitalize and develop the town’s economy.

Additionally, Main Street Skowhegan has launched the Skowhegan Holiday Store, an alternative to the shopping tradition that happens at the Stroll. Customers can access the shop at skowheganholidaystore.com to purchase products from local businesses as well as the Farmer’s Market.

Main Street Skowhegan’s #ShopSmall Week will also continue through Saturday. In a partnership with a handful of local businesses, the organization has been providing incentives to shoppers that support small businesses in the area.

Every time a shopper makes a purchase at one of the 49 participating businesses, they can fill out a raffle ticket for a drawing of two $100 gift cards and two $50 gift cards. Raffle winners will be selected at the end of the week, and the gift cards can be used at any local business the winners choose.

#ShopSmall Week is an extension of the promotional event that Main Street Skowhegan typically does for Small Business Saturday, Cannon said.

“We started the Passport to Savings program for Small Business Saturday, but it was only a one day thing,” Cannon said during a phone interview Friday. “But this year, because of the pandemic, and because it’s super important that we’re supporting our local businesses more than ever, I thought it was important for us to spread it out to a full week.”

 

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