A handful of dutiful shoppers sloshed through the wet and eventually snowy streets of downtown Marietta Friday evening in order to take advantage of one of the last big downtown shopping events of the year.
The Merry-Etta Moonlight Savings Sale went on as planned Friday night and stores were determined to live up to the event’s name.
“I’m expecting it to stay busy tonight,” said Debbie Cline, co-owner of Twisted Sisters Boutique.
Inside the store, employees wearing festive scarves danced to holiday tunes and shoppers browsed for Christmas items.
“We try to come every year and get as much shopping done as we can,” said Marietta resident Annie Rambo, 48.
The weather, which was a mix of rain and sleet when the event started at 6 p.m., actually inspired Rambo and her husband, Ken Gulick, 49, to come out, said Gulick.
“We figured there wouldn’t be as much support with the weather like this so we wanted to support the local businesses,” he said.
Williamstown resident Keri Dunn was shopping for the same reason.
“I came to support local merchants,” said Dunn, as she shopped for Christmas gifts in Simple Pleasures.
The weather meant a slow start to the Merry-Etta event, said Simple Pleasures owner Jon Givens, but Saturday will likely be busier, he speculated.
“Everybody has a chance to come out tomorrow with the tree lighting and the Holiday Loft Tour,” he said.
Vienna residents Mike and Margaret Morris were not deterred by the weather.
“It’s beautiful,” said Margaret while walking down Front Street.
It was raining when the couple first arrived downtown, but by 6:30 the rain had changed to snow and was dusting the sidewalks, noted Margaret.
At the Puzzle Piece Quilt Shop, employee Sarah Yorganson had sold a quilt since the event began. The customer was one of many to take advantage of the “Bowl of Savings” offered by many of the downtown merchants.
Small balls, called “Snowballs” could be drawn and would give the customer anywhere from 10 to 50 percent off of their purchase.
“She got 20 percent off her quilt,” said Yorganson.
Quilting remains a popular hobby and the shop caters to novices and experienced quilters alike, she added.
Recent Marietta transplants Glenn and Chris Perry were getting some Christmas shopping done in Dad’s Primitive Workbench.
“We like this as a community event. We get to meet people, shop. It’s great,” said Glenn.
The Perrys have enjoyed finding unique items for their 118-year-old home since moving to Marietta seven months ago, said Chris.
A little bad weather was not about to scare them away from their shopping, she added.
“We’re not finished yet,” she said.
Customers like the Perrys are what make such downtown events possible, said Charlie Clay, owner of Dad’s Primitive Workbench.
“There have been few, but fearless shoppers tonight,” he said.
Since the weather discouraged a lot of shoppers, Clay said he will continue offering the “Snowball” for customers on Saturday.
There will also be free carriage rides Saturday. The rides will be sponsored by Twisted Sisters and will depart from the front of their store between 1 and 3:30 p.m., said Cline.
Charlotte Keim, executive director of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, said she hopes people that skipped the Friday event will turn out Saturday.
“We can’t let mother nature stop our downtown businesses from succeeding,” she said.