Downtown Staunton prepares for a big holiday season

staunton downtown development associationThe Staunton Downtown Development Association and downtown businesses have been preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend festivities since July.

That’s when the parade and window theme is chosen. This year, they selected “Small Town, Bright Lights: BIG Christmas,” celebrating the new lighting downtown with a more metropolitan feel this year.

The annual promotions are designed to engage the community by celebrating our local offerings and the people who make Downtown Christmas a big place to be. Storefront windows will be decorated with sparkling lights and the holiday snowflakes are ready to greet our guests and create the festive holiday atmosphere.

Downtown Gift Card Downtown Gift Cards are accepted at almost every Downtown Staunton restaurant, theater, gallery, retail and service business. They may be purchased in denominations of $5, $10, $20 and $50 and are packaged in an envelope that includes a list of businesses who accept the card. This convenient gift encourages people to “Shop Staunton First.”

Gift Cards may be purchased at The Beverley Cigar Store at 106 E. Beverley Street and at Latitudes Fair Trade Store at 16 East Beverley Street, at the SDDA office at 110 West Johnson Street or online at

First Two Hours Free Parking

To make shopping easy, the City of Staunton offers the First Two Hours Free Parking at the Wharf Lot and the Johnson Street Garage, Friday, November 29 through December 20.

Holiday Window Decorating Contest

Downtown Businesses decorate their storefronts in preparation for the holidays. The 2019 theme is “Small City, Bright Lights: BIG Christmas”. This year’s contest will be judged by the community on a Facebook event page between Wednesday, November 27 and Friday, December 6. The most likes wins! The winner will be announced on Saturday, December 7 at Cherish Every Christmas.

Businesses will compete for advertising packages donated by The News Leader to be used April 1, 2020. • $1000 First Prize – Eight 1/8 page color ads and 50,000 online ads • $600 Second prize – Eight 1/12th page color ads and 50,000 online ads • $400 Third prize – Eight 1/24th page color ads and 50,000 online ads

Small Business Saturday

Feel-good shopping is so easy when you shop small on Saturday, November 30. Most businesses participate and shoppers can enjoy a relaxed shopping experience with special holiday activities and strolling carolers. The first event was sponsored by American Express, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation (Main Street) in 2010. It is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

Each year, the Staunton City Council issues a proclamation to encourage the community to shop locally. The SDDA has been organizing a Small Business Saturday event since 2011.

2019 offers and participating stores may be found on Small Business Saturday is sponsored by City National Bank, MIX 93.1, Bankers Insurance and Loudoun Mutual Insurance, McKee Foods and Shenandoah Dermatology. Go to to see Small Business Saturday live.

Staunton’s “Small Town. Bright Lights. BIG Christmas.” Parade

The Parade takes place on Monday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. There is an inclement weather date of Monday, Dec. 9. This annual community event is over 50 years old and going strong. The parade is organized by the SDDA but the hard work is done by volunteers from the Staunton Kiwanis Club who approve the line-up, mark the streets and marshal the parade by keeping all of the entries in order and on schedule. Go to to see the “Small Town. Bright Lights. BIG Christmas.” Parade live. More information at

The Grand Marshal this year will be Staunton sons, Wilson Fairchild. The parade has all of your favorites including marching bands, elaborate floats, beauty queens, fire engines, vintage motorcycles and cars, horses and best of all…Santa arrives on a float provided by ShenanArts. It is sponsored by Shenandoah Dermatology, McKee Foods, and WHSV-TV3. Refreshments for the Kiwanis and the parade judges are donated by The Pampered Palate.

The Parade Route begins at the corner of Augusta and Frederick Street, follows Frederick Street East to Market Street, turns right onto Market Street and then onto Beverley Street going West toward Lewis. Parade goers are advised to use the Johnson Street corridor to enter Downtown as the other entrances will be blocked for the Parade line up. Free parking will be available in the New Street Garage and the Wharf Lot.

Cherish Every Christmas

The second annual event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7 from 3-7 p.m. Cherish Every Christmas includes activities at businesses located throughout Downtown and benefits local children and families facing the battle against cancer. Guests can look forward to Father Christmas arriving at the Train Station, carriage rides from Classic Carriage ($5 each | 2 and under ride free), a Winter Express Trolley with a reading of The Polar Express and treats from Clocktower Eats and Sweets ($5 per golden ticket | 2 and under ride free), a tree lighting, ugly sweater contest and caroling in the Wharf.

Forty business will decorate a spindle tree. The top three winning business will donate their prize to the charity of their choice. The public will be asked to vote on Facebook.

A complete list of participating businesses, events and activities can be found at

Last Minute, Totally Free Parking

To make your shopping easy, from December 21- Christmas, all of the parking in Downtown Staunton is absolutely *FREE! *Posted time limitations remains in effect.

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