The first full weekend of December in Somers can mean one thing: Dickens Weekend.
Thirteen shops in Somers and Somersville participated, including Crossroads Gifts and Greetings, Colonial Flower Shoppe, The Treasure Box, Kassandra's Herbs Unlimited, Knitting Criations, Beautiful Things Interiors & Gifts, oneTribe, LUXE Beauty & Brows, Margaret's Country Shoppe, Equestrian Collection and Antiques, eM framing, Somersvillage Gifts & Gourmet Baskets, and Finishing Touches.
Shoppers, both in-and-out-of-towners, could participate in a scavenger hunt. The shoppers could grab a card from any of the participating stores and add stickers from each additional store they visited. Six or more stickers allowed shoppers to be eligible for a raffle of a $25 gift certificate to any store in town. Twelve-plus stickers bumped the potential prize to a $50 gift certificate.
Kassy Mashiak, owner of Kassandra's Herbs Unlimited, said even though Dickens Weekend was promoted, and has been a success in the past, this year was a little different for her.
"It's been okay," she said. "I think I've had other years where business was stronger."
Mashiak said she had around 30 people come in specifically for Dickens Weekend, in addition to her regular customers.
"I was hoping today would be a little stronger," she said. "It's been a little slow. But you take what you can."
But she added, Dickens Weekend was a great way to "kick off the season."
Pam Harris, owner of Knitting Criations had some of the same reaction to Dickens Weekend as Mashiak.
Knitting Criations, which even offered the shoppers cookies shaped like knitted mittens, saw around 20 people come in specifically for Dickens Weekend in town.
Harris said the town shopping event "has become a tradition, and business stays steady," through the holidays.
"Word of mouth is wonderful," Harris said. "It's why it's worth doing [Dickens Weekend]."
Harris also added that this one-weekend-a-year town event creates a chance for small businesses to work together.
"Everyone supports each other," she said.
Crossroads Gifts & Greetings was also open and hoping for small business success.
Judy Cooley, the owner of Crossroads, said business was a little slower this weekend than anticipated. However, Cooley estimated that around 75 people came into the shop for Dickens Weekend.
She said that not everyone who stopped in was doing the scavenger hunt, though.
"At least they're looking around," Cooley said. "Maybe they'll be back before Christmas, or after, in January, to pick up gifts."
Crossroads has a welcome mat urging customers to support small businesses, and Cooley reiterated that by saying, "I just want to encourage people to shop small, and shop local."
The businesses and shops participating in Dickens Weekend will be meeting this week to discuss how the weekend went, to collect scavenger hunt forms, and to draw the winner of the $25 gift certificate as well as a winner of the $50 raffle.
Check back to see who won!