Festive Fridays returns to Arts District, adds new events 


After a successful launch last year, Festive Fridays will return to the Carmel Arts & Design District Nov. 20, allowing visitors to enjoy later shopping hours at many retail stores and discounts at restaurants and other businesses.

This year, there will be additional events to help bring people out, including Storytime with Santa, the Holiday Stocking Hunt and live musical performances. Elaine Mancini of the Museum of Miniature House will read holiday stories, and Santa will visit – starting Nov. 27 – for photos with children. The Trail of Selfie Stops will wind through the district offering life-sized holiday cutouts for photo opportunities. Festive Fridays will continue until Dec. 18.

David Maxwell and Stephen Hannah of The Olive Mill came up with the idea for Festive Fridays after many customers asked them to stay open later. They brainstormed some ways to attract shoppers after they were done eating at nearby restaurants.

“Last year’s response was great,” Hannah said. “People were appreciative that extended shopping hours were being offered in the district. I believe that the addition of Silver in the City to the mix in Carmel will be very beneficial this season.”

So far, participating merchants include The Olive Mill, Silver in the City, Tina’s Traditional Tearoom, The Museum of Miniature Houses, The Carmel Theatre Company and Donatello’s Italian Restaurant. Additional businesses are expected to join, and a full list along with a schedule of events may be found online at festivefridayscarmel.com.

Hannah said The Olive Mill does nearly one third of its entire year’s business between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the extra hours on Friday have proven to be beneficial. He says his hope is that other businesses will benefit as well.

“Many shoppers thanked us for being open after their traditional work hours and for offering such a festive environment for shopping and dining,” he said.