Holiday Merchants and Artist Walk

Earmuffs and scarves aren’t the attire usually associated with downtown Merchants and Artist Walks, most of which take place in the summer.

But for the November installment Friday evening, shoppers came prepared.

“I made sure I had my hat and my gloves, and if I need to I can put on my (hood),” said Parkersburg resident Stephanie Carpenter, 42.

“Got my flannel-lined jeans,” added her mother, Belpre resident Grace Arnold, 64.

Both women said temperatures expected to dip into the 30s didn’t cause them to hesitate about whether to attend the final walk of the year pairing artists with downtown Marietta merchants in an extra-hours shopping and social event.

“I think it’s just really enjoyable, just walking around the stores,” Arnold said.

Karen Shaner, manager at the Gallery on Front Street, wondered at first if the cold conditions would keep some people away.

“I just wasn’t sure because of the cold weather, but it’s not stopping them at all,” she said.

Folks could head into the Gallery to hear music by a jazz trio, meet both a local author and a local artist, buy raffle tickets for a quilt made by the Blennerhassett Quilt Guild and get a hot cup of Maine wassail.

For Marietta resident Babs Douglass, 60, the cold just added to the evening’s atmosphere.

“Puts you in the Christmas spirit, this one does,” she said. “It’s a Christmasy-kind-of-feeling night.”

Her daughter-in-law Stephanie, 31, was visiting from the Columbus area and attending her first Merchants and Artist event.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said. “I like that all the stores are open. There’s a lot of people out and about.”

Christmas shopping was on the minds of many of those walking downtown Friday evening.

“We got gifts, and (we) do a little Christmas looking,” said Melissa Erb, 45, of Marietta, walking through the Gallery with her husband, Mark, 41.

The couple said they take turns choosing which shop to browse, so after visiting the Cook’s Shop at Melissa’s request, they headed to the Gallery so Mark could check out the Ohio State merchandise.

“I enjoy it too,” Mark said of the walks.

Williamstown resident Nikki Butler, who designs her own fabrics for clothing, purses and other items, said she likes the walks because they present an opportunity she doesn’t often get selling her merchandise online.

“It’s just nice to get feedback from everyone,” she said.

Marietta resident Judy Williams was making her third appearance at a walk this year, selling decorative boxes at Putnam Chocolates.

“I just felt I had something that people might be interested in, and it doesn’t cost a lot,” she said. “I have to be working on something. I made one (box) for myself, and that’s the one that sold.”