Midnight Merriment returns to downtown

We checked out all the happenings at Midnight Merriment last Friday. Tim Goodwin
We checked out all the happenings at Midnight Merriment last Friday. Tim Goodwin
We checked out all the happenings at Midnight Merriment last Friday. Tim Goodwin
We checked out all the happenings at Midnight Merriment last Friday. Tim Goodwin
We checked out all the happenings at Midnight Merriment last Friday. Tim Goodwin
We checked out all the happenings at Midnight Merriment last Friday. Tim Goodwin
Andy Moisis entered the beard contest Friday night at Midnight Merriment in downtown Concord. GEOFF FORESTER
Andy Moisis entered the beard contest Friday night at Midnight Merriment in downtown Concord. GEOFF FORESTER

You might want to plan on sleeping a couple extra hours on Thursday night, because Friday is going to be a late one.

It’s the 25th annual Midnight Merriment, put on by Intown Concord, and we like to think of it as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season in Concord (our apologies, Black Friday, Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday).

On this night, many downtown businesses will stay open way past their typical closing hour, offering all kinds of deals and promotions.

“It’s about getting people to come down,” said Kate Fleming, events and outreach coordinator at Intown Concord.

And while it is a great time to start making some headway on your holiday shopping list, Midnight Merriment offers a lot more than just stores staying open till the clock switches over to Saturday.

The festivities start at 5 p.m. and there’s will be different things happening all night long.

Returning after a successful first year is the s’mores station in front of City Plaza. Nestled next to the city Christmas tree, two big trash can fire pits will be roaring with open flames to help melt your marshmallows.

After running out in less than an hour last year, the supply has been upped to 500 this year – but chances are they will still go fast so make sure you get to that side of Main Street early.

While you’re there, take a minute to appreciate all the hard work that went into this year’s tree and nativity scene. It sure is nice to have that classic holiday décor on full display.

The annual beard contest begins at 6:30 p.m., and if you’re into facial hair, this is one event you won’t want to miss.

Don’t worry, we won’t be entering again this year, as we stumbled to an 11th place finish out of 13 competitors – which we can only imagine was courtesy of a couple pity votes for being an Insider.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t sign up; just make sure you have a pretty good beard because chances are the competition will be pretty stiff.

You can sign up at Granite State Candy Shoppe (13 Warren St.), Lucky’s Barbershop (50 S. State St.) and Moderno Barbershop (25 South St.). And it’s completely free to enter.

“You can sign up day of and just show up and do it,” Fleming said.

Although it would be pretty hard to do that if you haven’t started growing a beard.

Santa will be moving from the Eagle Square atrium and setting up shop at Starkey Realty (132.5 N. Main St.) for the night, so go for a visit and maybe buy a house.

“We wanted Santa to have his own space,” Fleming said.

A Girl Scout troop will be offering free gift wrapping at Starkey, which means you can buy a gift and have it all wrapped before you even get home.

From 6:30 to 11 p.m., Winter Giftopolis will take over the Eagle Square atrium for a one-day only, pop-up craft fair. You’ll find all kinds of great handmade, one-of-a-kind items that would make a special gift for anyone on your list.

While you meander around Main Street, stopping at all the great local shops, enjoy the sweet sound of strolling carolers and piped in holiday music playing all around North and South Main.

The elfie selfie stations are back, so cozy up to Buddy the Elf and take some fun pictures that could go on your family Christmas card.

Restoration Foursquare Church will be playing A Christmas Story on a loop through the large window of the former cupcake place on South Main on a 10-foot by 6-foot screen. So walk by and take in a few minutes of the holiday classic. They will even have hot cocoa.

Santa Dude will be back at Red River Theatres, to keep get your holiday season off on the right foot.

McGowan Fine Art, now in its new location at 2 Phenix Ave., will hold a little open house to show off their space from 5 to 8 p.m.

N.H. Federal Credit Union is opening up its doors for a warming station, because this is after all happening on Friday, so chances are it might be a bit chilly.

There will be cookies and hot cocoa, and big comfy couches to relax on.

And don’t stray too far from N.H. Federal Credit Union because there is lots happening.

Every hour on the hour, there will be a raffle drawing for downtown dollars. The amount of downtown dollars increases with each drawing, so it’s advantageous to stick around for most of the night. You can use your winnings at Midnight Merriment or hang on to them for another shopping adventure.

“The longer you wait, the more you can get,” Fleming said.

You will also notice that is where this year’s Win the Window is located.

If you’re not familiar with the endeavor, it’s really rather simple and work the little bit of time.

We explained it all on page 3 if you want more info.

And just remember, even with all this fun happening around every corner, Main Street is open to traffic, so make sure to look both ways when crossing the road.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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