The holiday spirit filled the air and the sidewalks this past weekend for the annual Lamplight Stroll, a holiday shopping event downtown.
Carolers sang in front of Milford Photo as shoppers grabbed shopping passports and strolled from store to store getting them stamped to qualify for holiday raffles.
Despite the economy, shopping seemed up over last year’s event, said Marti Reed, who owns the Canvas Patch.
“I’m looking at sales from last night, and I’m pleasantly surprised they were so strong,” she said as she rang up holiday items on Saturday. “The crowd seemed as jovial as ever.”
Down the street at H. Mangels Confectioner, owner Paul Mangels said he left his son in charge of the store at about 8 p.m. Friday night, the first night of the two-day event, and the crowds seemed to rush in.
“It was busier between 8 and 9 than it was the whole evening,” he said, adding that there was plenty of good and positive holiday shopping energy.
Big-selling items in his store at this time of year are the boxes of truffles. “People bring them to holiday parties, they buy them for their older parents, and they put them under the tree for loved ones,” Mangels said.
Chocolate soldiers are big-selling items too, as are the stocking-stuffer priced chocolates in various molded shapes.
“The chocolate soldiers seem to march out of the store by themselves,” Mangels said.
The Wright family was among the many shoppers exploring the shops, passports in hand.
“We do it every year,” said Marcie Wright, adding that it’s a great time to walk with her two sons and point out certain things she wouldn’t mind finding under the tree. The boys can then share the information with their father, she said with a laugh.
Kenny Wright, 11, is OK with that idea, and he likes making the stroll for reasons of his own.
“I like exploring the different stores and seeing what they have to offer,” he said.
His favorite? Mangels chocolates. His little brother, Matthew, agreed.
For new shops, like Baby Love, the shopping event was a perfect time to let people know they opened.
The new maternity shop is the first new-mother-and-baby shop downtown since Mama Bear’s Place closed a number of years ago. The new store sells maternity clothes, cribs, toys made in the United States, “everything,” said store employee Julissa Alvarado.
And for longtime stores like Milford Photo, the event was good, too.
Sales associate and photographer Jess Thompson said people just can’t buy enough cameras at holiday time, and behind him a sign noted some good sale prices on point-and-shoot cameras.
“These events are great for us,” Thompson said. “It’s the kind of thing we need to compete with online shopping.”
It was busy on Saturday at the downtown camera store, and Thompson predicted a few hundred sales that day.