WATERTOWN, S.D. – Over the last few of years, Watertown Development Company (WDC), the organization typically known for marketing Watertown as a destination for businesses to relocate, has expanded its mission to take an active role in the redevelopment of Downtown; including participation in the development of The Lofts, Parkside Place, the redevelopment of many empty downtown buildings, and soon, the development of a new downtown park. Now the WDC is working to transform the city center into a beacon of holiday cheer this season.
The holiday celebration will be called “A Merry & Bright Christmas”.
The month-long event is intended to draw shoppers into the community by adding additional things to see and activities that will complement the events that are already put on by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Watertown Business Association.
“Through the assistance of local sponsors, we are excited to announce that the WDC will contribute a significant amount of time and effort towards providing a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly shopping experience all month long,” said Chris Schilken, WDC Executive Director. “Christmas is a wonderful season that brings together family and friends who spread cheer and give thanks for the many blessings we have. Thanks to the continued support for Downtown by our investors and sponsors, it is now possible for us to make Downtown Watertown a Christmas destination.”
The WDC’s plan is not only to help businesses survive and conquer, but to show prospective retailers that even in the midst of a pandemic, they are committed to the continued growth of Watertown.
WDC Director of Marketing Traci Stein said, “The pandemic is really taking a toll on our businesses, and as a consequence, Watertown's retail sales numbers are suffering, so the WDC is trying to create a buzz-worthy experience for our downtown businesses to try and get those numbers back up and resume on the path of recruiting new retail to the area.”
To do that, Downtown will be converted into the “North Pole,” with larger than life decorations, lighted boulevard trees, horse drawn carriage rides, and a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree. Many of the shops and businesses in Downtown will also convert their storefronts into a sort of window wonderland. “Twinkling Lights and Frosty Nights”, a holiday light competition hosted by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, will feature installations curated by local and downtown businesses, and a grove of live Christmas trees—decorated by families, business, and organizations from throughout Watertown—will fill The Lofts retail area.
A Merry & Bright Downtown Christmas begins with three events - the annual Holiday Lighted Parade rolls through Downtown on Friday, November 27th. The parade is held annually by the Watertown Business Association and marks the “official” arrival of Santa in Watertown.
The Christmas Tree Extravaganza begins on Friday, November 27th. The Extravaganza is a friendly Christmas tree decorating competition open to all businesses, organizations, families, and creative individuals throughout Watertown. Participants will decorate trees to display throughout the month of December in the retail area of The Lofts.
Sponsors of the Merry & Bright Christmas include the Watertown Area Community Foundation, The Watertown Lions Club, Dial-A-Move, Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, Benchmark Foam, Mavericks Steaks and Cocktails, Target of Watertown, and KXLG Radio.
If you or your business would like to become a sponsor, please contact Traci Stein at 605 884 0340.