The holidays also herald two fierce competitions that mean bragging rights for the year, the Cider Cup and Best Window Display. This year’s winner of the Spirit of Athens Cider Cup is Wildwood Deli, which also claimed victory in 2014.
“We will have it on prominent display,” said Wildwood owner Rhonda Fisher, who received the Cider Cup on Monday, Dec. 19.
More than 350 shoppers cast ballots for their favorite cider during the annual Sippin’ Cider, a holiday retail event hosted by Spirit of Athens where merchants allow shoppers to sample cider and vote for their favorite. SOA Executive Director Melanie Newton said the voting was close with Snapdragon Kids, Pimentos and The Right Dress Boutique finishing second, third and fourth.
Newton said the ballots ask for an address since there is a drawing for a door prize, and according to the ballots submitted, Sippin’ Cider drew shoppers not only locally but from the surrounding areas.
“We drew visitors from Madison, Decatur and Tennessee to our downtown,” Newton said.
Another event that drew visitors from surrounding areas was Christmas Open House held in late November. That event was hosted by the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of Athens. This year’s theme was Winter Wonderland, and downtown merchants decorated their storefront windows in various winter themes from swans to ice skating.
The first place winner was Garnet’s, which claimed the title for the third year in a row. Second place was Snapdragon Kids and third place was Trinity’s.
“The storefront windows are a joy to see each year,” said SOA Promotions Committee member Holly Hollman. “When the merchants start decorating for the holidays, and the Courthouse grounds are decorated, it feels like Christmas in Athens.”