Christmas Festival Moving to Sunday After Black Friday
The annual arrival of Santa Claus and lighting of the Green will be held Sunday, Nov. 25 instead of on Black Friday, Nov. 23.
Santa Claus is coming to town two days later this year.
For the first time since the Morristown Partnership assumed responsibility for organizing the nearly-century-old town event—which includes Santa's arrival via the Century 21 rooftop and the lighting of the Green—the Christmas Festival on the Green will be held the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov 25, instead of on Black Friday.
Jennifer Wehring, director of marketing for Morristown Partnership, said the change came down to logistics.
"It just works for everybody," she said. "As a business organization, we want to try and limit the number of road closures on high traffic days. And, the Morristown Partnership likes to have most of our events on Sundays."
This will be the 99th year Christmas has been welcomed to Morristown in this way. Wehring did not see an issue with the change, noting the event itself has changed over a century, beginning with "a group of community members with wax candles meeting on the Green," she said.
Businesses in Morristown seemed to agree the change of date was not an issue.
"I don't think it would matter," said Nancy Fagan, a sales assistant at Cheeks Boutique. "People will turn out, regardless."
Some said holding the family-friendly event on Sunday was actually better.
"Overall, it's a good idea," said Donna Lohmeyer, owner of The Shops of 14 Pine Street. "Friday is a day for shopping, or that's what it's becoming anyway."
Though she supported the change of days, Lohmeyer said she wished, since it's now on the weekend, the festival could be held a little earlier in the day.
"The earth dicates when," Wehring said, noting the lighting of the Green is as much a part of the event as Santa's arrival. "We want it to be seen in all its glory."
The change also looks to give food and beverage businesses a boost.
"Black Friday is just insanity," said Cafe on the Green's Lloyd Griscom. "We'll be busy regardless. Any restaurant on Black Friday is busy because people are shopping; they're not going to cook themselves a meal."
On Sunday, though, Griscom expected a bump in sales because of the Christmas Festival. "I think that will help," he said.
Morristown Starbucks General Manager Jen Perkoski agreed. "I just think people would like it separate from that day," she said. "For a lot of people, they may have to choose one or the other. Now, they don't have to."
Overall, Lohmeyer said the change was good. But, it's not the festival that is going to affect business, she said, it's the calendar.
"We're blessed this year with having an extra weekend [between Thanksgiving and Christmas,]" Lohmeyer said.