Festive Fridays kick off the first three Fridays of December with themed events, free parking | SierraSun.com

Festive Fridays kick off the first three Fridays of December with themed events, free parking

North Lake Tahoe locals and visitors will get extra special treats while shopping in downtown Truckee during the first three Fridays of December.

This year marks the third annual Festive Fridays celebration, which was created by the Tahoe Downtown Merchants Association in conjunction with the Town of Truckee and Truckee Chamber of Commerce.

The town entities offer free parking from 4-8 p.m., so shoppers can get their holiday gift lists checked off while supporting the local economy.

"Festive Fridays is organically growing, this is not a fundraiser, it's about bringing locals and visitors downtown on the first three Fridays of December for the opportunity to shop, be with friends and family and enjoy downtown before the rush," said Cassie Hebel, who is executive director of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association.

She said the Festive Fridays event was created to show some love to the locals, hence the free parking perk.

Hebel said each participating store is doing their own activation in the spirit of the holidays as each of the three Fridays will feature a different event theme.

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Friday, Dec. 1, will be "Night Out" themed, inviting adults to have a night away from their children to knock out some holiday shopping. Cabona's will feature their annual Ladies' Night during this Festive Fridays evening, making it a good time to get together with friends and do some shopping in historic downtown Truckee.

The following Friday, Dec. 8 will feature a scavenger hunt for Festive Fridays. The night on the town encourages shoppers to find the elusive item listed on their scavenger hunt map through various locations downtown. Locate the item, have that spot stamped on a map, and turn in a portion of the map at the end of the day for a chance to win raffle prizes.

The Girl Scouts will also be making their way through town caroling at different storefronts.

The final Festive Friday on Dec. 15 is called "Passport to Sip & Shop," and is free for shoppers to participate. There will be 11 participating locations offering small bites and sips of champagne, wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverages. Hebel invites locals to get out in their community and enjoy the enormous mixer, of sorts.

"It's important to shop locally because you're supporting a local community. The businesses downtown are local businesses run by local owners to sustain their local life — that has been TDMA's whole campaign for the past year, supporting your friends and family by shopping local so we can all continue to live and work here," Hebel said.

Local business owners are excited to participate in another lively community-spirited event.

Nancy Beckert, co-owner of Mountain Arts Collective, a new gallery located at the downtown train station will be participating in Festive Fridays while simultaneously hosting their grand opening celebration.

"We are so excited to be in the heart of downtown and excited to be part of Festive Friday during the grand opening. We have plenty of holiday gifts to snag this weekend," Beckert said.

Each of the shops downtown offers a wide range of items, you're sure to find the perfect gift for anyone on your list.

"I shop at every store downtown. Truckee Variety for my kids to have an interesting gift, I buy my clothes downtown, I'm wearing a top from Mo, Jo & Zoe and jeans from Cabona's right now. I eat downtown. I stay at the Truckee Hotel when I need to have a night on the town. When it comes to gifts and you need something unique, any one of the stores is amazing, and if it's not there, then you go to Mountain Hardware and you can find it," Hebel laughed.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.