“Are you sure it’s December? This doesn’t feel very Christmas-y.”
That was a sentiment expressed often around the Port City as temperatures reached near 80 over the weekend, prompting many to bring their shorts and T-shirts back out.
Despite the summer-like weather, downtown Wilmington showed off its Christmas spirit this weekend, thanks to the decorations put out by businesses and residents alike for the inaugural Holly Jolly Holiday Stroll.
After a ribbon-cutting on Friday afternoon in First Bank’s Water Garden that was attended by the event’s organizers and local politicians as well as members of the community, the event was kicked off by a performance from the cast of the Thalian Association’s production of Babes in Toyland.
On Saturday, Santa rode into downtown Wilmington on the famed riverboat Henrietta III, then spent time talking to and taking pictures with children. Throughout the day, people strolled the town admiring the Christmas displays from Chandler’s Wharf to The Cotton Exchange. Many of the participating businesses, which kept extended hours, also had snacks and other refreshments available for shoppers.
At night, residences in the Historic District turned on their lights for passers-by to enjoy. The unseasonable weather made it pleasant to walk around for the event that was meant to bring people downtown and get them outside. Though warm weather can’t be guaranteed every year, organizers hope the Holly Jolly Holiday Stroll becomes a Wilmington Christmas tradition.