‘Window Wonderland’ brings holiday cheer to life: How you can get involved

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — There’s no shortage of holiday spirit in downtown Syracuse. It’s the fourth year of “Window Wonderland” and a record number 34 businesses are dressed in their holiday best to spread cheer, create tradition, and bring people together.

“When people drive by, there’s so much to look at, there’s so much brightness,” said Jacquie Grabowski, owner of Element on Water.

When the sun goes down, the lights sparkle, transforming windows in downtown Syracuse into a winter wonderland.

“They’re in a bright scene even though it’s dark outside,” said Grabowski.

“Whether it’s people coming downtown shopping for the holidays or it’s families looking to build new traditions, it’s that experience that we’re hoping to offer,” said Merike Treier, Executive Director for the Downtown Committee of Syracuse.

The silver and gold decorations are part of a contest by the Downtown Committee, one Grabowski is using to create magic for her clients at Element on Water. Her theme is interactive.

The front windows have a “naughty” and “nice” side. Depending on which mood you’re feeling, you can take a picture next to one of the frames, post it to social media with the hashtag #ElementsElves, and you’ll have the chance to win a prize. “I just want them to feel good vibes,” said Grabowski.

A few blocks over, inside Pastabilities, there’s a similar hope for customers to embrace Syracuse and all it has to offer.

“Be a celebration of the holidays to make people smile, to really light up this restaurant and our neighborhood,” said Ryland Heagerty, a Front of House Manager.

“It does something here at night where it takes you out of your reality and brings you to a different place,” said William Church, one of the masters behind the magical decorations.

“People might be compelled to walk to a neighborhood or walk down a street they haven’t walked down before,” said Heagerty.

Follow the map to see all the window displays:

If you do walk through Hanover Square, you can stop and take a picture with the star. Post your selfie to social media with the hashtag #IWish to share your dream for your community and spread your light to those around you.

“You never know what’s going on in people’s lives, so you wanna be able to add a little sparkle to their lives,” said Grabowski. “Just stopping to say happy holidays to someone holding the door open for you can go a long way.”

If you want to vote for a window display or see other festive activities happening in the city, go to the Downtown Committee of Syracuse website.

You can also keep your eyes out for the Dash-and-Dot Downtown Elves.

Facebook: @DowntownSyracuse

“These are our seasonal staff members that come back every year and this is a social media campaign. So every day we show pictures of them in a different downtown business or storefront highlighting the new businesses that have come but also the unique shopping gifts,” said Treier.

You can guess where the elves are by emailing your idea to mail@downtownsyracuse.com and if you guess correctly, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win gift cards and certificates redeemable at downtown businesses. 

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For more local news follow Nicole Sommavilla on Twitter/NeSommavilla.

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