Business in Riverhead is booming, and for the first time in three years, East End Arts will not be hosting its annual downtown holiday window decorating contest.
As a way to light up Main Street for the holiday season, the yearly event invited community members to decorate the windows of vacant businesses. But the Town’s efforts to revive its central business district have clearly been successful, and as a result, the contest has become an unexpected and somewhat bittersweet casualty.
“[The project] brought color and life downtown during this festive time of year, and now the businesses are doing it themselves,” said Stephanie Smith, the marketing and PR director at East End Arts. “We’re sad not to be doing it this year, but it’s all for good reason.”
The Riverhead Holiday Window Decorating Contest has been a community tradition for three years, when most of the buildings downtown were vacant. But business has steadily picked up, as tenants have moved into the previously unoccupied spaces. In 2011, 16 windows were decorated. Only 10 were decorated last year. This year that number declined even more.
“Windows used in the past are filled or in the process of being filled,” Smith said.