Merchants compete for window display crown

Tomorrow is judgment day for Port Orchard’s downtown merchants.

The Port Orchard City Council will roam Bay Street businesses tomorrow at 6 p.m. in search of the best window display.

It’s the third year in a row the Bay Street Merchants’ Association has turned the winter holiday displays into a contest.

Phil McCormick, president of the association, said the events of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 have altered the theme this year.

“We’re having an all-American theme this year,” McCormick said. “It’s still holiday-ish but there are flags and other items that present an American spirit.”

Toni Duggan, owner of Harbor Mercantile and the winner of last year’s contest, has added red, white, and blue to her Christmas display.

Snow covered trees are being accompanied by red bows and blue ornament balls this year.

Christmas is still the overriding theme, but the red, white, and blue is adding a new flavor to the displays.

While the judging isn’t until tomorrow, Duggan and McCormick both agree the best-looking display is at the Antique Mall, with its bright lights and eclectic use of props.

Though it is a competition, Duggan said there’s bigger reason for decorating the windows.

“We’re trying to encourage people to come downtown,” Duggan said. “But it’s been hard to draw people this year.”

Duggan said the combination of poor weather and the convenience of shopping malls is a big reason for downtown being so quiet.

While plenty of people drive through downtown, McCormick said it would be neat if they would take a few minutes to see the beautiful displays many merchants have spent countless hours decorating.

“There are some really good looking windows,” McCormick said. “All of them are finished. We’re just waiting for the judges now.”

Duggan said she decorated her windows with less vigor this year because she wants other business owners to have a shot at placing.

She also said the competition should be better this year because there are seven or eight new businesses contributing so that’s good.

The displays are up 24 hours a day but they are best seen when it is dark outside.

McCormick said he just hopes more people can come down and appreciate the effort put forth by the various downtown merchants.

“I’m proud of what we’re doing,” he said. “Hopefully the community will be too.”

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