By Budd McLaughlin
If you’re looking for something to “spice” up your Christmas shopping, visit the downtown Athens Square for the annual Sippin’ Cider.
Not only are downtown stores competing for your business, but from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, they will be asking for your votes.
The merchants are offering free cider to shoppers, who will be asked to rate their favorite. The winner will receive the Cider Cup.
“The merchants get competitive with this event, and it offers shoppers the opportunity to enjoy other activities while buying the items they need to complete their Christmas lists,” said Letisha Brinkley of Spirit of Athens.
Ballots will be available at each participating business and voters must rate seven merchants’ ciders. The voters will be eligible for a door prize.
There are also activities for kids including a Sippin’ Cider Art Camp, hosted by the Athens Arts League at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning on S. Marion St. Children can make Christmas-themed paintings to take home.
“What a special way for children to make Christmas memories and to create art under the guidance of Athens Arts League instructors,” said Diane Lehr of the Arts League.
The camp is 5-7 p.m. and is geared for children in second through sixth grades. The cost is $20 and registration is at 4:45 p.m. at the center; it is limited to 30 children.
Other activities include decorating snowman cookies at Pablo’s on Market, courtesy of Megan Morris Evans with Athens Eye Clinic and volunteers from Cole Dental Group; marshmallow roasting; train rides by the Athens Lions Club and, of course, an appearance by Santa Claus.
Participating merchants include: Bennett's Clothing, CEI Books, Crawford's Gifts, The Grasshopper, Gray & Holt, LuVici's, Pablo’s on Market, Pimentos, Trinity's Gifts & Interiors, U.G. White General Mercantile and Village Pizza.