OAKLAND -- Montclair Village will be awash in lights, Christmas trees and the spirit of the holiday season at the 10th annual Holiday Stroll from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6.
"Festiveness starts in your neighborhood," said Tom Revelli, the owner of Montclair Sports. "It's not just about the decorations and trimmings. We can't compare with the big box stores."
"It's a celebration of community. It's a way of connecting merchants with the community," said Daniel Swafford, of the Montclair Village Association. "The Village Stroll is a unique experience, and in many ways more festive than a trip to the mall."
In keeping with Village tradition, about 40 merchants will welcome strollers into their shops, many offering food and drink and special discounts and promotional offers. Jennifer Sandstrom, the owner of Someone's in the Kitchen, will be busy baking her famous gingerbread cookies for the evening.
"It's great to see the community having a good time and getting together," she said. "It's a real party atmosphere."
There will be a multitude of musicians, singers and dancers in the street including performances by the Pacific Boychoir, Oakland School for the Arts, the Montera Middle School choir and the Bishop O'Dowd Brass Ensemble. Tap dancing trees will complete the festive spirit.
For the first time, Mountain Boulevard will be closed between Medau Place and La Salle Avenue to allow for easy access to the performances. The Golden State Fitness Center will transform into Santa's Village and some the athletes will be dressed for the part. Montclair resident Carolyn Winters likes the Holiday Stroll.
"It's great to see fellow neighbors," Winters said. "Everyone is out and about. It kick-starts my holiday spirit."
Village merchants also hope to remind residents that they are here and to shop local.
"We offer expertise and customer service that you can't always get at a big box store or online," Swafford said.
Revelli thinks "people are appreciative of the brick-and-mortar stores. You can buy sporting goods anywhere. But this is a family support network."