The annual Culpeper Downtown Holiday Open House, which is normally a one-day event with 2,000 attendees, is going to have a new appearance and name this year.

“This year is going to have to be a little different,” Jessica Jenkins, Culpeper Renaissance Inc.’s executive director, said. “We sent out a survey to the merchants. Right now they still have to limit the amount of people that are coming into the shops as well as the restaurants.”

So, it has been rearranged into the Holiday Downtown Preview Week, an event stretching from Nov. 16-21 in which many downtown businesses will offer seasonal specials and new products. During the week, she explained that some businesses will have extended hours. Additionally, many shops are offering a variety of ways to shop with online options, free shipping, curbside pickup and scheduled store visitations.

“CRI is really going to be focusing on shopping downtown, shopping local during the holiday season. Right now, it is more important than ever for our locals to support our small, locally-owned businesses. The holiday season typically is our bulk of income for the entire year,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins noted that downtown businesses have fared fairly well during the coronavirus pandemic, which is “a testament to our locals supporting our downtown businesses.”

“They know that they’re our neighbors, they’re our friends and we support them. So the way that our downtown has fared through this situation compared to many other downtowns throughout the nation really speaks to our community spirit,” she said.

Jenkins expects that to continue through the holiday season, saying “if you’re buying something special for someone, chances are one of the downtown businesses has something...not only that, they’re going to get that personal experience, they’re going to get customer service that they won’t get at big box stores or online.”

Also during the week, businesses will deck out their doors for a decorating contest.

While there won’t be the usual carriage rides and public tree lighting ceremony, Jenkins said the Holiday Preview Week has plenty to offer.

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