The Christmas spirit is about to take over downtown Red Deer.
The North Pole Stroll, the Downtown Business Association’s annual Christmas marketing campaign, officially begins Saturday and runs until Dec. 22.
The campaign began as a one-day event and has grown into a month-long celebration of the holiday season.
“The goal of North Pole Stroll is to attract as many people as we can downtown and to have them consider downtown as a place to do their Christmas shopping,” said Amanda Gould, the association’s executive director.
Things get started Saturday with Red Deer Lights the Night, which is a family friendly festival being held in City Hall Park and on Ross Street from 4 to 7 p.m.
The event will feature the lighting of the park and the Christmas tree next to City Hall. There will also be live entertainment, games and artisan vendors.
Late night shopping will also be held Saturday, when downtown businesses will remain open until 8 p.m. or later.
The Christmas pickle is part of the North Pole Stroll as well.
“A pickle used as a Christmas decoration may seem odd at first, but it’s an old tradition. When decorating the tree, the pickle is hung last, hidden among the branches,” the association’s website says.
Many downtown Red Deer businesses will hide pickles in their stores as part of the fun. Customers who spot them are eligible to win a prize from that business, such as a discount or raffle entries.
Gould said the holiday season is important, especially for retail businesses.
“As with any retail, no matter where you’re based, a lot of your revenue comes from the Christmas season,” said Gould.