Downtown Hope held a Christmas Open House Thursday night, which got started at 5:00 p.m. with area merchants staying open past dark to welcome customers hoping to take advantage of special sales. The event was organized by the Hope-Hempstead Chamber of Commerce.
Also at 5:00 p.m. the artificial ice-skating rink opened for use in The Hub. Jaggers Pinner and sister Jillian Pinner were the first skaters to try it out. Jaggers found he liked it and could be seen gliding around for several minutes. The rink was staffed by Pafford EMS, one of several civic groups or businesses that will oversee the rink in the next several weeks. Its hours will be 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., November 17-19, 25-27, December 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 21-23, 29-31, January 5-7. Skaters are charged $5 per half an hour. Skate rental is free.
Carriage rides were available, too, and pretty soon the usual downtown traffic was joined by a 19th century vehicle. Families waited north of the National Building to be picked up.
At the Hope Public Schools building, the Hope High School jazz band started with “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and played a number of other holiday tunes. The Hope High Cheerleaders performed holiday songs in cheer versions on East Second. Tables were set offering cookies and hot chocolate. At one table was a kind of Christmas book fair.
When night fell, the holiday decorations set up by Hope Tourism and Parks and by each local business began to show. It was a bright and active beginning to what everyone hopes is a successful holiday shopping season.