For Downtown Athens merchants, the Christmas season brings more than cash registers ringing like jingle bells.

The holidays also herald two fierce competitions that mean bragging rights for the year, the Cider Cup and Best Window Display. This year’s winner of the Spirit of Athens Cider Cup is Wildwood Deli, which also claimed victory in 2014.

“We will have it on prominent display,” said Wildwood owner Rhonda Fisher, who received the Cider Cup on Monday, Dec. 19.

More than 350 shoppers cast ballots for their favorite cider during the annual Sippin’ Cider, a holiday retail event hosted by Spirit of Athens where merchants allow shoppers to sample cider and vote for their favorite. SOA Executive Director Melanie Newton said the voting was close with Snapdragon Kids, Pimentos and The Right Dress Boutique finishing second, third and fourth.

Newton said the ballots ask for an address since there is a drawing for a door prize, and according to the ballots submitted, Sippin’ Cider drew shoppers not only locally but from the surrounding areas.

“We drew visitors from Madison, Decatur and Tennessee to our downtown,” Newton said.

Another event that drew visitors from surrounding areas was Christmas Open House held in late November. That event was hosted by the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of Athens. This year’s theme was Winter Wonderland, and downtown merchants decorated their storefront windows in various winter themes from swans to ice skating.

The first place winner was Garnet’s, which claimed the title for the third year in a row. Second place was Snapdragon Kids and third place was Trinity’s.

“The storefront windows are a joy to see each year,” said SOA Promotions Committee member Holly Hollman. “When the merchants start decorating for the holidays, and the Courthouse grounds are decorated, it feels like Christmas in Athens.”



12/21/2016 10:07pm

There are a lot of exciting events when Christmas is near. Even though there are many business that are competing for sales it will still be a friendly competition during holidays. I think their competition of decorations in the front store is really exciting. I think they have beautiful designs. Thank you for sharing this.


Wow, this post does illustrate, describe and emphasize the beauty, happiness and excitement of Christmas season. This is also my most favorite season and holiday to celebrate. Not only that this tightens the bond for families, it also gives big opportunity for generosity and love. It is not only in Athens but all over the world, this season is really anticipated and all are very eager and excited.

12/27/2016 6:28pm

I would have loved to see the winner for the best storefront window. I wish you could have posted some more pictures of the said event. I love the theme that you have! Winter wonderland is perfect for the Holiday season. Congratulations to those won. I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday!

01/03/2017 11:17pm

It's really an interesting idea, I never thought it before. A very nice article!


If I'm not mistaken, I've heard such idea. However, yours is better. A well-written article. Like it!


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