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Downtown holiday decorations award winners announced

City of Salisbury

Salisbury’s Community Appearance Commission (CAC) members recently selected winners for the annual Holiday Storefront Decorations Awards.  This is the 10th consecutive year of highlighting downtown merchants whose window displays best celebrate the holiday season.

The jury of CAC members Diane Hundley, Sue McHugh and Tamara Sheffield, enjoyed viewing 68 seasonal displays created by downtown businesses.  After a spirited discussion, they named eight awards to honor the creativity and inspiration of the shopkeepers.

Best Community Partnership was awarded to Downtown Salisbury Inc. and the many Rowan-Salisbury School students participating in the tree decorating project in the storefront of the Empire Hotel (212 and 228 South Main St.)  Not only is the display eye-catchingly festive, but it also transforms underused window space into a winter wonderland of unique holiday trees. Each tree is adorned with book-inspired, student-created ornaments. The overall effect is clever and engaging — bringing to life for the young designers and their audience the books we all know and love. The only advice the jury offers is to bring this concept back next year, and consider adding lights in the trees. If Downtown’s stars are in alignment, the Empire Hotel will be under renovation at this time next year, but other underused windows could be employed for this picture-perfect use.

Best Overall Building Decor: Caniche (200 South Main St.)  Throughout the seasons, owners Missie Alcorn and Lesleigh Drye teamed together to provide one of the most visually appealing shopping experiences in downtown Salisbury, or perhaps in any downtown.   The elegant compositions of the seasonal window displays and outdoor plantings capture the attention of even the casual passer-by.  The nighttime effect is equally captivating.  Completing the property’s pristinely-maintained, postcard worthy décor are large arched windows, encircled by ropes of tiny white lights and punctuated by color-coordinated wreaths.

Best Use of a Tiny Space:  Anna Craig Boutique (117 West Innes St.)  Newly opened last spring, this shop’s proprietor, Drew Myers, has maximized the impact of her tiny storefront.  What could have been a challenge, Drew has turned into an asset.  The unapologetic turquoise-hot pink color scheme animates the block.  Draping ropes of white lights and a sumptuous window box of greenery are flanked by a brightly-lighted wooden tree, heralding the attention of passers-by.  We wish Drew the best of luck and encourage shoppers to step into her cute and inviting boutique.

Most Sustainable Display:  Skinny Wheels (111 West Innes St.)  A few steps away from Anna Craig Boutique is Skinny Wheels, where owner and cycling enthusiast Eric Phillips stayed up long into the night to create a holiday-themed display largely constructed with used bicycle parts.  Used sprockets are transformed into a wreath, and reduce, reuse and recycle is the theme.    All the jury missed was the letter to Santa asking for that timeless favorite — a shiny new bicycle.  We applaud Eric and other downtown merchants for creatively integrating their products into their holiday-themed displays.

Best Use of Merchandise:  Griffin’s Guitars (121 South Main St.) Heading the list of retail shops that display merchandise effectively is this newly relocated guitar shop.  A guitar is a thing of beauty in itself.  Set several in a row with big red bows around them, contrast with giant shiny red ornament all behind a crystal-clean window, and a beautiful composition is created.   This is a pitch-perfect statement that speaks music to any shopper.

Best Alternative Display: Dead Ed’s (123 East Innes St.) Rounding out the jury’s appreciation for the new, younger generation of entrepreneurs in Downtown Salisbury, Dead Ed’s received enthusiastic thumbs-up for its clever “holiday” composition.  What to call the award was the dilemma.  The nightmare before Christmas?  Best zombie Christmas?  Regardless, the entertaining use of products will bring chuckles to the viewer and admiration for the creators.  Dead Ed’s quirky display may not fit everyone’s definition of holiday décor, but it contributes so effectively to the diversity of resources in our downtown.

Best Glam Display:  Queen’s Gifts (221 South Main St.)  The jury applauded Queen’s Gifts for the cohesive arrangements of brightly colored and whimsical Christmas trees.   Each tree by itself is a shimmering display of luminous textures and hues.  Several trees grouped together are downright glamorous in the dusk of night.

Last, but never least, the CAC thanks Linda Dukelow and her staff at Textile Products (121 North Main St.) for their ever-tastefully decorated room vignettes and for adopting the otherwise vacant window across the street at 114 North Main St.   To Textile Products, the jury is pleased to offer the Lifetime Achievement Award.

There are many wonderful holiday displays in downtown windows this season, and the jury struggled to narrow down the field to a handful of awardees.  The Community Appearance Commission thanks all of the owners and staff who decorate their storefronts for the holidays and throughout the year, making downtown Salisbury such an enjoyable place to live, visit and shop.  All storefront decoration winners will be invited to the CAC Biennial Awards program, where they will be honored for their contributions.

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