Annual Zionsville Event is Full of Great Shopping & Good Times
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography Provided by Amy Payne and the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce
Christmas is coming, and for many locals it all starts in the village. Christmas in the Village kicked off in late November with the Inside Out sale, for which merchants along Main Street and the side streets of Zionsville sold their merchandise outside. Designed to encourage people to get out early in the season to shop locally, it also allows shoppers to purchase items in a fresh, open-air setting. Shopping locally is always important to the vitality of small businesses, and is particularly important this year given the pandemic and its effects on businesses.
Allyson Gutwein, executive director for the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, reminds us that this is the time of year when these small businesses earn the money that helps sustain them through the early months of the following year, when buying typically decreases.
“Having strong representation from our community during the holiday season really helps our merchants,” says Gutwein, who notes that when buying gift cards from merchants and restaurants, buyers should not forget about business services.
For instance, you can get a gift certificate for a spa service, facial or hair service. Maybe you want to help a friend upgrade their website or do something different with their social media. You can purchase those services, too – even career coaching.
“Those are also great gifts that are tailored to people and their individual needs,” Gutwein says.
December 4 and 5 is free gift-wrap weekend, and anything purchased at a small business in Zionsville can be wrapped free of charge. This takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sotheby’s office in downtown Zionsville on Main Street. The following weekend, December 11 and 12, is family weekend, which includes reindeer games.
“We wanted to do something new and different this year, so we have blow-up reindeer suits that kids can put on and race in,” Gutwein says.
Game of Gnomes will be offered as this year’s Seek-and-Find event, and gnomes will be hidden in storefronts for the public to locate. December 9 is Ladies Night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Zionsville shops and restaurants will run specials.
Some staples that many people love, a couple of which were suspended last year due to the pandemic, are coming back. For instance, the ever-popular Christmas Crawl is returning on the evening of December 16. Attendees travel down Main Street visiting one establishment after another and enjoying libations.
“We’re also bringing back the ugly sweater contest,” Gutwein says.
Be sure to bring your masks with you when shopping Zionsville stores, and comply with whatever each store owner requires. Though many shops have gone back to normal occupancy and are not requiring masks, some still are, so if you want to enjoy all of the Zionsville merchants, have masks handy.
Gutwein and her colleagues always look forward to this time of year as the holiday season seems to stir a bit of magic and excitement in the air. Often the Chamber staff will help monitor Santa’s house, which always serves to entertain. When Santa has asked what little boys and girls want for Christmas in the past, the responses he gets often prompt a chuckle.
“One time a kid asked for a ladder, and his parents were like, ‘What?’” Gutwein says. “Turns out, he wanted to climb a tree so he figured the best way to get that done was with a ladder.”
Another time, a little girl requested a real tiger. Without skipping a beat Santa replied, “Well, I’m very sorry but I can’t do that. I have to bring gifts to all these other kids and a tiger’s claws would cut through those packages.”
The parents smiled in relief. Christmas in the Village is a fun tradition for everyone.
“It’s precious to have families in our town get to come together and create memories that they will share for generations,” Gutwein says.
Gutwein also encourages attendees to post positive reviews for businesses following transactions or experiences.
“That’s so important to leave that restaurant, business or service-based business a positive review so that others can see what you think,” says Gutwein, who left a review last year for a local establishment and recently received a notice on Google that it had been seen 500 times.
That’s why she carves out a bit of time every Sunday to leave a positive review for wherever she has been that week.
“When friends and neighbors see that a business is reputable, they are more likely to frequent it,” Gutwein says.
For more information about Christmas in the Village, visit zionsvillechamber.org.