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McDonough Square kicks off the holiday season


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor

  The McDonough Square will be spilling over with good cheer this Sunday, November 11, as several events are planned to usher in the holiday season.

Happy children making sand art creations at the 2011 Holiday Festival.                                                         Special photo

  Holiday Festival of the Arts, hosted by McDonough Arts, and the Holiday Merchant Open House, sponsored by Mainstreet McDonough will fill the square with the tastes, sights and sounds of the upcoming holiday season.

  The annual McDonough Arts event will feature a full slate of arts and craft vendors, handmade gifts, food and live entertainment. Scheduled to appear on the main stage throughout the day include Danny Ray, the Atlanta Festival Ballet, The Jackson High School Girls Chorus, The Realistics, the Mt. Carmel Elementary Chorals, Dutchtown Elementary Chorus and the Gift of Dance Studio.

  The Grinch will arrive at 1 p.m. to greet the children and parents will have an opportunity to take photos.  Stylists from Hair Smithsonian will offer “Who-ville” hairstyles and local artists will vie for People’s Choice recognition in an art competition.

  The Merchant’s Open House is an opportunity for shoppers to see what businesses on the McDonough Square have to offer. Most businesses will be open and offer refreshments and some stores will have special deals for shoppers, kicking off the holiday shopping season.

  Bob Knowles, co-owner of Blumen Trio Florist and Gifts, said the open house will give him an opportunity to show off changes within his store. He said Blumen Trio recently merged space with former next door neighbor J. Rose Fashion Accessories. He said the new building owner also allowed them to break out part of the wall, add French doors, which now connects Blumen Trio and J Rose with a new upscale antique and gilt shop called Mr. Leo’s Wonder Emporium.

  Open for just a few weeks, co-owner Frank Leo isn’t sure what to expect with the Merchants Open House, but said he looks forward to showing off his store and building a customer base. His specialty store is a mix of antiques, home décor and gifts. In addition, the new merchant brings 30 years of antique experience.

  “If I get a great deal, I’ll pass that on to my customers, and if they are looking for a specific item, I can usually find it,” he said.

Newcomer on the McDonough Square, Courtney McGuire owner of Truly Yours, said she is excited for the opportunity to welcome new customers to her store as well. The gift shop that specializes in personalizing items and embroidery opened on the Square in late February and she has been pleased with progress so far.

  “Because we’re new, we’re banking on the holidays to get more exposure,” said McGuire. “In addition to personalized items, we can pretty much find a gift for any female from baby on up. We also do birthday parties.”

  Both the Holiday Festival of Arts and the Merchants Open House will be held on Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. on the McDonough Square. For more information on McDonough Arts, visit For more information on the Mainstreet McDonough Program, visit



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