Christmas Open Houses in Russellville today enjoying a rebirth
By Jim Turner


Posted on November 24, 2019 8:23 AM




What has become one of the most anticipated events of each year is upon us. Christmas Open House in Downtown Russellville will be held—as always—today, the Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving.

Although the number of places to shop around Carrico Park Square has dwindled over the decades, the definition of Downtown Russellville has greatly expanded. So has the number of activities offered to those who take advantage of the official opening of the holiday season in Logan’s county seat.

That’s primarily because the Logan County Chamber of Commerce is in its fourth year organizing the event. Executive Director Karen Logan and her assistant, Meagan Paschall, put excitement, organization and extensive promotion into whatever they do. Chamber volunteers carry out those plans gleefully.

Logan County Tourism is also deeply involved in many Chamber activities, and this one is a prime example. Director Dee Dee Brown is the driving force behind that group.

Although there are fewer retail outlets downtown, four crafts shows/vendor sales add shopping opportunities today. For 18 years, Christmas in November has been a part of the charm of Christmas in Russellville. As always, the event sponsored by the Logan County Arts & Crafts Club lasted most of the day Saturday and will continue at the Recreation Center/Old Armory this afternoon from 1-5.

Just a block away, Logan County Tourism will again host Christmas Market at the Old Courthouse. In addition to a number of craft vendors, Kris Partlow—the popular Bread Lady at the Farmers’ Market each year—will have her holiday seasonal breads available.

In its second year, Christmas at Whitz will be a vendor show. It’s located on East Fourth Street not far from downtown and next to Pillow Brothers Plumbing’s long-time location. It’s led by Marcia Key, the force behind the huge Mistletoe Market, which was held earlier in November.

Also featuring vendors will be The Loft, which is diagonally across the street from the Saddle Factory on East Fourth, John Mardis’ State Farm office downtown and First Southern National Bank adjacent to the Bethel Shopping Center

Further out from The Loft on East Fourth Street is Amanda Simon’s State Farm Insurance Agency. She is inviting families to ride the trolley from the square to her office for Story Time with Santa (every 30 minutes). “Make reindeer chow for Christmas Eve night and write your letter to Santa while you are here,” she says.

The trolley will also make stops at the Bethel Shopping Center, the Historic Courthouse, the Chamber, The Loft and Riley-White Drugs and Jewelry. City Councilman Jimmy Davenport will run the trolley, which is being provided without charge for the rides by the City of Russellville.

Horse & Carriage Rides are also free and are provided by Logan County Tourism. Those rides will begin on Winter Street by the Historic Courthouse.

A favorite stop during the Christmas Open Houses for decades has been Riley-White, which is the remaining anchor of the area around the Square. In fact, Jerry White was one of the organizers of these open houses. Abundant refreshments and a major giveaway are among the attractions.

One of the features of the Riley White holiday experience is visiting with Logan County’s most prolific author, retired educator/businessman Algie Ray Smith. His 18th book, most of which have appeared this time of each year, is very special to him, since it’s about his brother and hero, Ken Smith. It’s entitled Ken Smith: An All American Boy. The chapters are stories from the late Russellville mayor’s youth. Ray Smith will be selling and signing copies of the book at Riley White.

In the early years of the Open Houses, many clothing stores were among the featured attractions. Now Sherrie Freeman’s Shoppe on the Square is the only downtown clothier with a history. Two new clothing shops are nearby this year. In fact, the Robyn’s Nest Boutique is next door and another boutique is just up the street in the former location of a natural health store.

Also in the downtown area are Pawley Studios, Oak ‘n Ivy Florist, Color Me Beautiful Salon, McCormick’s Place Antiques, the New Vision Community Church office and Russellville Martial Arts.

In addition to First Southern, open houses being offered in the Bethel Shopping Center include Piggly Wiggly and Rogue City Resale and Consignment. Ziggy’s Place on the corner of Bethel and West Second streets is in walking distance of both downtown and Bethel Shopping Center.

Also on the official Open House list are outlying businesses Betty’s Antiques, Hickory Hill Garden Center & Florist, Northern Nursery & Florist, Southern Home Designs, the Pink Blueberry, the Walk-In Closet, Priceless IGA and Trembley Pool & Spa.

Logan County Public Library plans activities throughout the afternoon.

A map and list of open houses will be available at the Chamber and at many of the places where open houses are scheduled.

Highlights of the afternoon’s final moments be a performance by the deGraffenried Chorale on the Logan Chamber Porch at 4:40 followed by a Tree Lighting on Park Square.

 

 




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