HUNTINGTON — Last-minute shoppers can expect more stress this holiday season with six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That’s why dozens of Huntington businesses are hoping people kick off their holiday shopping season on Friday by joining the third-annual “Huntington Downtown Crawl.”
Friday’s crawl will be from 5-9 p.m. with more than 50 downtown shops and restaurants participating, many offering one-time deals and food samples that won’t be offered any other time.
The event was created three years ago as a way to get more people thinking about shopping locally during the holidays. It was also created to showcase the variety of downtown businesses that people might have overlooked in completing their holiday wish lists, said MacKenzie Morley, executive director of the Downtown Huntington Partners.
“Who doesn’t like an opportunity to come and sample the best of the best free food, shop discounts at your local retailers and kick off your shopping season on what is arguably one of our best nights of the year here,” Morley said.
The event is free to the public, but registration is encouraged so restaurants and stores can plan ahead, she said.
The crawl will begin at 5 p.m. at Huntington’s Kitchen on 3rd Avenue. Those participating will receive a swag bag of free goodies and a map of participating businesses. There will be a trolley and a wheelchair-accessible caravan to make it easier for people to get around.
Morley said people may have their maps marked by visiting 24 selected locations during the crawl. Those people who visit all 24 stops may enter a drawing for a basket of items and gift cards valued at $500.
New this year is the addition of several stops on the map geared toward children, Morely said. Representatives with the Huntington YMCA’s Kids in Motion will also be downtown offering games and activities for kids.
“We found that in the years past, though the kids enjoyed being downtown and riding the trolley, we felt this would be a nice little added element that was specifically just for them,” she said.
Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.