Midnight Merriment returns Friday and you should definitely go

Everyone will be in the holiday spirit this Friday, so you should join in on the fun. And that’s an order.
Everyone will be in the holiday spirit this Friday, so you should join in on the fun. And that’s an order.
You could also be one of the lucky ones like Elyssa Paris to have your picture taken with Santa.
You could also be one of the lucky ones like Elyssa Paris to have your picture taken with Santa.
Just imagine, you could be having a good time like all of these people.
Just imagine, you could be having a good time like all of these people.
In addition to all the shopping, eating and decoration enjoying you’ll have, your ears will be entertained with the sweet sounds of Christmas carolers.
In addition to all the shopping, eating and decoration enjoying you’ll have, your ears will be entertained with the sweet sounds of Christmas carolers.

Remember when staying up ‘til midnight was the coolest thing ever?

And if so, do you also remember the last time it didn’t take two cups of coffee or an extra large Red Bull to do it?

Well, break out the sugar and caffeine and get ready for a long night, because this Friday we give you permission to stay up ‘til the start of Saturday – as long as it’s okay with the people that are usually part of those kinds of important decisions.

It’s a night you won’t want to miss. Downtown Concord will be abuzz, and lucky for everyone taking part in Midnight Merriment, it won’t have anything to do with a swarm of angry bees. From 5:30 p.m. to the aforementioned midnight hour, many downtown shops and restaurants are staying open late for Intown Concord’s official kick-off to the holiday season.

“What’s really great about Midnight Merriment is that it’s a downtown wide event,” said Intown Concord’s operations manager Liza Poinier.

And for future reference, the fun doesn’t have to stop with Midnight Merriment, because on Dec. 12 and 19, shops will be staying open late for the final two Fridays before Christmas.

“We hope to carry the festive environment of Midnight Merriment through to the 12th and the 19th,” said Susan Sokul, communications and events coordinator for Intown Concord.

But let’s not get too far off topic, because this Midnight Merriment thing has a lot of fun waiting for you to enjoy. Shops will offer up refreshments and special promotions, along with some pretty festive decorations. And don’t forget your wallet, because you’re sure to find something for everyone on your nice list when bouncing from shop to shop.

“I think the businesses recognize it’s a long night, but it’s fun and a really important night for them,” Poinier said. “There’s tons and tons of shoppers.”

For those who work long hours, this is the perfect opportunity to get some much needed shopping done before the holiday crunch, but Midnight Merriment is much more than just picking up a few gifts. This is a downtown celebration and has been for more than two decades, but unlike Halloween Howl, the streets will not be closed down. So make sure to keep your time walking in the streets limited to using those strategically placed crosswalks.

“It’s not a street fair at all, it’s a shop-‘til-you-drop kind of fair,” Poinier said.

And while you’re crossing Main Street in a safe manner, let your ears be filled with the sweet sounds of strolling carollers and your eyes gaze at the holiday sights of City Plaza and the beautifully decorated store front windows. You will even be able to find out who won the Merchants Roundtable Holiday Window Decorating Contest, judged by Mayor Jim Bouley, local design consultant Ricardo Rodriguez and last, but certainly not least, the Monitor’s own reporter extrordinaire, Megan Doyle.

Santa will be on hand in the Eagle Square Atrium from 6:30 to 8 p.m., so make sure to bring your camera, a wish list and maybe a carrot or two for the reindeer. A couple cookies for the jolly old big guy couldn’t hurt either. But if you just want to drop off your letter, that can also be done at Eagle Square, thanks to the good people at Parker Academy who built Santa’s letterbox.

“We have a really nice Santa setup,” Poinier said.

The Eagle Square Atrium will also be home to the annual Winter Giftopolis, a play off the famed Concord Arts Market. There will be two levels of crafty goodness with more than 20 fine art and craft vendors on site from 6:30 to 11 p.m.

“It’s a really great one-night-only arts market,” Poinier said.

But you can also get crafty on at the League of N.H. Craftsmen headquarters (49 S. Main St.) by making a winter star ornament with Deb Fairchild. The workshop is free, with three different time slots: 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Visit nhcrafts.org to sign up.

Don’t forget to add to your stamp collection – your passport stamp collection that is – as you gather all the necessary designs for Win The Window (see more on page 3) and a chance to win the fabulous downtown prize packages. Visit the Women’s Club of Concord’s open house at the Chamberlain House, 44 Pleasant St., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., for some warm drinks and baked goods.

Warm Up With a Book at Endicott Furniture with children’s stories read by local celebs and free books for kids, courtesy of the Concord Public Library Foundation, starting at 6 p.m.

The Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association’s Hospice Lights of Life Ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. at Merrimack County Savings Bank at 89 N. Main St., and the New Hampshire Public Health Association at 4 Park St., Suite 403, is open for festive treats and conversation from 5 to 8 p.m.

And finally, Red River Theatres is holding a holiday poster sale, featuring movie posters of films shown at Red River. There will also be hot chocolate and, from what we’ve heard, a Dude Santa, like from the Big Lebowski, will be there, too.

For more on Midnight Merriment, visit intownconcord.org or just go downtown Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. You’re all smart people, obviously, since you’re reading the Insider, so it won’t be too hard to figure out.

“We encourage people to get there early and stay late,” Poinier said.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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