December 7th, 2020

Winter on Third

We can’t guarantee snow, but practically everything else you’d want for a picture postcard holiday can be found in downtown McMinnville the next few weeks.

If you’re new to town, be sure to enter Third Street through the “front door” on the west end. There, just outside the library you’ll find one of the tallest living Christmas trees in the country: a Sequoia that towers at least 150 feet and is visible (when lit) from the east end of downtown.

Winter on Third is the name of the potpourri of local goings-on for Christmas this year organized by the McMinnville Downtown Association. A highlight that has proven popular is the weekly $500 MacBucks drawing for a downtown gift card. Spend at least $25 at any of 17 participating shops and you’ll be entered in the Friday night drawing. If you don’t win, you need to spend another $25 the following week.

Trying to get a jump on aggressive online retailers, the MDA and local businesses launched the 12 Weeks of Christmas in October so it scooped Halloween and Thanksgiving into the mix of holiday fare. That first week, MacBucks drew little more than 250 entries. Last week, there were more than 1,200.

“Every week we are seeing a slight increase in customers and everyone is being great with the social distancing rules,” said Oregon Stationers co-owner Tona Miller. Like many others, the store has adapted with the times to accommodate shoppers’ comfort levels: Curbside pick-up, personal shopper and online ordering are available. 

“It’s been a wonderful way to reward our customers for their support during a trying time,” said Amy Hall, owner of McMinnville Antiques Mall. “The MDA has been wonderfully supportive! It means a lot to have their backing, as well as the local supporters we have been blessed to have shop locally with us.”

Other participating shops (that offer the raffle tickets and accept MacBucks gift cards) include Boersma’s, NW Food & Gifts, Currents Gallery, Shoe Mates, Mes Amies, Accessory Appeal, Found Objects, Inner Oasis, La Bella Casa, Hopscotch Toys & Games, Yamhill Valley Dry Goods, Third Street Oil & Vinegar, Third Street Books and The Vortex.

A few other things to look for downtown this holiday:

  • Friday nights: Extended hours at most downtown businesses. Call or check Facebook for information about your favorite store.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 15: Guy’s Night Out! Stores will remain open extended hours for men to do some covert shopping away from significant others and families.
  • Carriage rides: Weekends only and weather permitting, look for Gypsy Rose Carriage Company outside Serendipity Ice Cream. Don Price and his steed Frankie offer short, 5- to 10-minute rides, Rides are free, donations are accepted. Check his Facebook the night before for hours. 

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.