There are still 45 days left until Christmas but some shoppers may choose to get a jump on holiday shopping at the annual Holiday Merchants and Artist Walk Friday.
It's the final Merchants and Artist Walk of the season and the kickoff to Hometown Holiday weekends, a series of holiday events throughout the county promoted by the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The event, downtown and in the Harmar village from 6 to 9 p.m., pairs local artists with merchants for special displays, sales and performances.
Coincidentally, the Holiday Merchants and Artist Walk falls on Veterans Day this year and will be the first year for two area veterans to participate as artists.
Retired husband and wife crafters from Belpre, Steve and Lou Ryan - he a former Air Force medic and she a former Air Force nurse - will display their handiwork at The Cook's Shop, 180 Front. St.
Jimi Sell, with Teri Ann's, is an organizer of the ReStore Marietta event and said that attracting people to downtown is the main focus, as well as highlighting the many talented individuals in the area.
"We are always looking for new artists," she said. "Sometimes it's through word of mouth and from people who have been to the walks in the past."
That was the case with the Ryans.
"He does sawing and I do sewing," said Lou Ryan. "We've enjoyed going to the Artist Walks year after year and one of the shop owners kept recommending that we try it."
Ryan said that she and her husband have never sold any of their items, which include table runners, receiving blankets, wine racks and book marks.
"We've always just done (the crafts) for our own enjoyment and for our friends," she said, adding that family members and their five grandchildren have often been on the receiving end of the gifts.
The annual holiday-themed event will take place Friday evening when the air will definitely be nipping at shoppers' noses. The high is expected to be 47 degrees and near freezing once the sun goes down.
And all of that is just fine for the Ryans who are looking forward to their first - and hopefully not last - year as artists.
"We hope to meet people," Ryan said. "And we hope they pick up Christmas presents early. It's just fun to have all the people milling about."
Some Hometown Holidays weekend events
Thanksgiving - New Years: Gingerbread display at The Lafayette Hotel.
Thanksgiving - New Years: Vintage animated displays at Peoples Bank.
Nov. 28 - Jan. 2: Belpre Holiday Lights Festival, Civitan Park.
Nov. 27: Marietta Christmas parade.
Dec. 3: Merry-Etta Moonlight Savings Sale, downtown Marietta.
Dec. 3: Marietta Holiday Tree Lighting, 6 p.m. at Armory Square.
Dec. 4: Victorian Tea at The Lafayette Hotel.
Dec. 5: Belpre Holiday Tour of Homes.
Dec. 12: Victorian Christmas Tour at The Castle in Marietta.
Dec. 22 - 23: Sweetapple Farm's Live Nativity.
Dec. 26: Holiday Bicycle Light Tour.
More information and events at www.mariettaohio.org.
If you go
What: Marietta Holiday Merchants and Artist Walk.
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Where: Downtown Marietta, including Front and Second streets, and Harmar Village.