• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

VMA Christmas Open House set for this weekend

The new businesses in downtown Versailles taking part in this weekend’s 32nd annual Christmas Open House are not the only additions to this year’s event, according to Elisha Holt of the Versailles Merchant Association (VMA).

Holt, who’s also the event coordinator for the City of Versailles, said the inaugural Christmas Stroll Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. will see Court Street closed off and participating businesses with luminaries.

“We’ll have participating merchants all the way from Designs By Renee on Rose Hill (Avenue) to Bluegrass Traditions, which is just past Green Street,” Holt said. “It’ll be getting dark (by the time the Christmas Stroll starts), so people will know what merchants are participating, because they’ll have at least six luminaries outside their door.”

Holt said roving musicians will play Christmas carols, and each business taking part will have a specialty beverage, from hot chocolate to wassel.

“Lots of different things for people to check out on Friday night,” Holt said.

One of those is a giant tapestry sponsored by the Versailles Lion’s Club that will be on display at the Woodford Inn. Proceeds from the sale of the tapestry, which features county tourism attractions, will benefit the Lion Club’s vision program, according to member Lillie Cox.

The Christmas Open House runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Merchants will have Christmas specials and “tasty treats,” and a map showing participating businesses will be handed out at each location. People who buy at least $5 worth of merchandise can get their maps stamped, and those whose maps bear stamps from five businesses will be eligible for a drawing for a gift basket worth about $500, Holt said.

Other highlights include free photos with Santa at Brad Lacefield State Farm from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, with parents asked to bring their own camera, and carriage rides sponsored by The Galerie on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Asked about beginning the “official” Christmas shopping season before mid-November, Holt said the VMA has always held the event on the second weekend of the month. “For folks who are familiar with our open house and know that’s when we’re doing it, we’re hesitant to make it a different time …” she said.

As always, the VMA and city officials hope that visitors from near and far drop a few dimes in downtown Versailles – and return to do so again. “Absolutely. And also, I think consumers should be excited to know there are a lot of new things happening in downtown Versailles,” Holt said. “You have The Galerie that is going to be down there, Amsden, Bluegrass Traditions – all these things that locals maybe haven’t had a chance yet to check out, so the Christmas shopping season is obviously an excellent time to come down and check out what all the new businesses … are about. “This year, you’re going to see different things than you’ve ever seen before.”

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