Northampton Holiday Stroll brings local food and good cheer

By Gina Lopez

Courtesy of the Downtown Northhampton Association's official Facebook page
Courtesy of the Downtown Northampton Association’s official Facebook page

The crisp winter air was filled with the smell of snow as people hustled and bustled around Main Street in Northampton last Friday for the Downtown Northampton Association’s annual Holiday Stroll event.

Despite the frigid temperatures, young families were plentiful, spotted all bundled up in their warmest winter attire for the event, indulging in warm fudge from The Chocolate Emporium, complimentary Christmas cookies and hot black bean soup.

The Holiday Stroll is one of the DNA’s numerous annual efforts to “improve the business and cultural strength of Downtown Northampton through investments in programming, beautification and advocacy,” according to their Facebook page.

The DNA describes the event as “having something for everyone,” whether it be passing by for the twinkling light display, experiencing the warm-hearted festivities or enjoying one of the only times a year that walking downtown is made easy.

Every year, Main Street in Northampton is closed off to vehicular traffic from the Academy of Music to Strong Avenue in an attempt to create a safe and open space for street performers, shoppers and sight-seers alike.

This year, the itinerary provided a full evening from 3 to 8 p.m. packed with holiday and town-orientated activities including performances by the Smiffenpoofs, a showing of the Nutcracker by the Pioneer Valley Ballet at the Academy of Music, arts and crafts at the Smith College Museum of Art as a part of their free second Friday promotion, a Local Burger eating contest, a horse-drawn carriage ride, community carol singing, a book reading from Mayor Narkewicz at Broadside bookshop, holiday deals, raffles and refreshments inside local stores like Cathy Cross, Kestrel and Ten Thousand Villages, and much, much more.

While I didn’t get to participate in the burger-eating contest or the horse-drawn carriage ride, I finished off my evening at Sam’s Pizza as the event’s festivities came to a close.

Despite the hassle of the thickened traffic for miles and the blustery walk from the Daily Hampshire Gazette parking lot, the event was exactly what I hoped it would be. It was an evening filled with holiday cheer, powdered sugar and unconventional pizza—what better a reprieve from finals week blues could I ask for?

Gina Lopez can be reached at [email protected]