SAINT JOHN – Uptown Sparkles is gearing up to deck uptown Saint John with holiday spirit, complete with live music, shopping, and delicious treats from December 5-7.
Uptown Sparkles has been held in Saint John for the past 12 years. It first started out as a day-time event, then switched to an evening event once-a-year. But this year the event will span over three days instead of one.
“We had an estimated 40,000 patrons attend Uptown Sparkles last year,” says Nancy Tissington, executive director of Uptown Saint John.
“Over the last years I could see an increased difference in attendance. Retailers have told us they brace for an increase in attendees every year and that their sales were up even higher during Sparkles.”
The majority of uptown businesses participate in Uptown Sparkles. Uptown Saint John’s website lists the retailers and their offerings on their website and in their 2019 Holiday Wish Book, from music to food to shopping specials for the three-day event.
Uptown Sparkles kicks off on Thursday, December 5 with the return of the popular Night Market, for one night only. Market vendors will sell things like beer, wine, and food and artisans will sell collectibles, holiday memorabilia and gifts, says Tissington.
The evening, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., will also feature a chimney warming station, ice sculptures and live music.
Friday, December 6 will kick off the weekend with the 35th annual Mayor’s tree lighting with horse-drawn trolley rides in King’s Square and period costumed carolers singing in the streets from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Uptown Sparkles’ final day, Saturday, December 7, Uptown Saint John will be giving away free swag and advantage cards in the vein of its springtime event, Shop the Block.
“It is the businesses that are really doing all the work by opening up their doors and offering up holiday specials and deals,” says Tissington.
Check out photos from the previous Uptown Sparkles events below:
The decision to expand Uptown Sparkles into a three-day event stemmed from a desire to offer Sparkles attendees more opportunities and activities to stay longer in the city.
“Not everyone can come out on one day, and some people are coming in from Fredericton, Moncton, I’ve heard people coming all the way from Maine,” says Tissington. “If they come in a day early what could we provide to them?”
Through supporting and providing more opportunities for local businesses and spreading them out over its three-day period, Uptown Sparkles’ growth could reach larger audiences and become an even bigger holiday event for the city.
“Seventy-six percent of our uptown is small business, so its about supporting the local, small businesses.”
“I truly believe that there’s enough to go around at Sparkles on Thursday night and on Saturday. I think we’re going to hit a lot of different demographics,” says Tissington.
“Over time, the vision is to see Thursday and Saturday be as equally packed as the Friday is.”