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Downtown welcomes season

District aims to snare shoppers with Street of Wreaths, ornaments
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein The Press-Tribune
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The glittering lights, a visit from Santa and children’s “fun zone” added up to hundreds of visitors at Friday night’s Christmas tree lighting in Downtown Roseville. But area merchants are hoping to bring them back by importing a little holiday cheer throughout the month of December. The Downtown Merchants Association’s third annual “Street of Wreaths” competition and, for the first time, limited-edition downtown Christmas tree ornaments are an invitation for people of all ages to visit Vernon Street, business owners say. “It’s kind of a fun thing to do – you see people run up and down the street to find out which one you want to vote for,” Scott Alvord, the association president and owner of A Dash of Panache at 217 Vernon, said of the wreath competition. Participants can grab a ballot at several merchants and vote for up to three of the nearly 30 wreaths, stretching between Lincoln and Bulen streets, then drop them off at participating businesses. The creations were decorated by students in the city’s Adventure Club after-school program and boast themes such as “Holiday Patriot,” “Cupcakes & Candy” and “Recycled CDs.” Winning clubs get a trophy and bragging rights for a whole year. “We’ve got some really cool ones this year,” Alvord said. Merchants hope the wreaths get people to walk the strip, which is still struggling to perk up after millions in city reinvestment that followed years of decline. “When you come in here you get personalized service,” said Joann Funk, longtime owner of the Nice Twice consignment shop, which sports two of the wreaths as well as “gently used” and new clothing and accessories. “Plus, you don’t have to wait in long lines.” The association is also offering something new – two etched-glass ornaments depicting two downtown icons: the Tower Theater and the 2252 steam locomotive. They’re being offered for $10, and with just 225 made of each, organizers expect them to go fast. “The centennial is next year, and we were trying to come up with something that was commemorative,” said Dave Roe, the association’s vice president and a partner at Prime California Homes and Lending at 428 Vernon. “A lot of us grew up in Rosevillle, so for us to recognize Roseville’s’ history and tradition and such just made sense.” The Tower design features the theater’s famous marquee, emblazoned with the Magic Circle logo and the troupe’s recent production of “Forever Plaid.” “I would have preferred it to be a show that I starred in, but I love ‘Forever Plaid.’ It’s well deserving of the honor,” Kris Hunt, Magic Circle spokeswoman (as well as an actor and director), said with a laugh. “It’s sparkly. We’re sparkly. The whole concept of community theater is sparkly,” Hunt said. Roe said merchants plan on releasing two ornaments each year, featuring other area landmarks. Future designs could include the Blue Line Gallery or so-called “crooked bridge,” he said. Proceeds from the ornaments will go toward the Roseville High School art department’s work in The Memory Project, an effort to benefit disadvantaged children worldwide through art. RHS art teacher Joyce Henry also helped oversee the ornament project. “It’s a good partnership,” Roe said. “Downtown Roseville is trying to create an arts district, a place to go to see art. So our vision is to try to show that we use art everyday as entrepreneurs and small businesspeople, and also to pay tribute to landmarks in Roseville.”