Large crowds were out for the 24th annual Festival of Lights on the evening of Nov. 25. A new initiative will see Summerland stores open late on Friday evenings during December.

Summerland stores open late for Christmas season

Stores in Summerland’s downtown area will extend their hours over the Christmas season.

Stores in Summerland’s downtown area will extend their hours over the Christmas season, with the possibility of having late shopping as a regular feature in the future.

From Dec. 2 to Dec. 23, stores will be open Friday evenings until 8 p.m. Sheila Jones, chair of the Summerland Merchants’ Committee, said the initiative will help draw people into the community for shopping.

“Friday is the night for people to come to Summerland,” she said. “It’s awesome that the businesses have agreed to do this.”

She said the additional hours have been challenging for some of the smaller businesses which have small staffs.

“It’s very difficult for our smaller staffs when people are already working long days,” she said. “It’s a big commitment for them and I applaud that they’re doing it.”

She added that the Friday evening shopping will not happen in January and February, but might resume in late spring and through the summer.

The committee, which formed a year ago, has been working to bring people into the downtown on Friday evenings.

In spring and summer, movie nights were held in Memorial Park and by the end of the summer, 250 people were attending the movies.

In fall, the movies have been shown on Friday evenings at the IOOF Hall on Main Street, although crowds are not nearly as large as in summer.

Lisa Jaager, manager of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism, said the initiatives and the movie nights are both helping to draw people to the downtown area.

“We’re looking at creating a market atmosphere on Main Street every Friday night,” she said. She would like to see the Friday evening shopping and activities continue in the future to promote Summerland’s downtown area.“

I would like to see Summerland own Friday nights,” she said.“Friday is the night for people to come to Summerland,” Jones added.

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