TARPON SPRINGS — As the holiday shopping season swings into high gear after Thanksgiving, the city will stage several events this weekend designed to promote shopping local.
On Nov. 24, dozens of Tarpon Springs businesses will participate in Small Business Saturday, a nationwide initiative to promote shopping local during the holidays.
According to city officials, there are more than 150 retail businesses and restaurants within one square mile from downtown Tarpon Springs to the Sponge Docks, and many will offer special promotions and food and drink specials for shoppers.
“Retailers are offering promotions, and restaurants, breweries, and cafes are featuring food and drink specials to refresh and replenish shoppers,” Economic Development Director Karen Lemmons said.
“The city will be colorful, as the stores will be flying flags, banners, and balloons to advertise their spe-cials and many stores will be open late until 9 pm.”
A pair of events geared toward walking and shopping are also planned for Saturday: The Holiday Sip and Shop at the northwest corner of Lemon Street and Grosse Avenue, and the latest Wine Walk, presented by the Tarpon Springs Merchants Association downtown and at the Sponge Docks, 4-9 pm.
The Sip and Shop is scheduled to take place from noon until 5 pm and will feature craft vendors, live mu-sic, children’s crafts and games, refreshments and more.
Tickets for the Wine Walk, a popular event that features 45 businesses downtown and at the docks offering wine samples and appetizers, can be purchased for $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event, either online at tarponspringsfloridausa.com, at One Amazing Find, downtown, or at Wine at the Docks, at 828 Dodecanese Blvd.
“The Wine Walk is a great opportunity to see the many eclectic boutiques and restaurants while sipping wine and getting some shopping done as well,” Lemmons said, noting the Jolley Trolley shuttle service will be operating at no charge for all patrons.
Bookending the entire weekend is the city’s long running annual Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Festival.
Sponsored by the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, the free event features dozens of artisan, craft and food vendors set up along Court Street in the downtown district.
According to Chamber President and CEO Jean Hungiville, this year’s festival will return to the Court Street area for the first time in years, but they still plan to include Tarpon Avenue merchants as well as local nonprofits to form a massive, sprawling community event.
“It’s going to be huge,” she said.
The same could be said of Tarpon Springs’ shop local weekend.
“There are a lot of activities going on in Tarpon Springs for Shop Small Saturday Weekend,” Lemmons said. “It should be a busy weekend, and we hope the retailers and restaurants are busy and have a very successful beginning of the shopping season.”