PHOTOS: Midtown businesses celebrate season despite construction

santa poses with a girl while another girl takes a photo
Photo: Tabitha Mueller

Construction work in Midtown hasn’t dampened spirits, and Friday evening morale was high at the district’s first-ever holiday party. In addition to a celebration of the holiday season, the evening also included the debut of Midtown’s new logo the halfway point to completion of construction in the area.

More than 15 vendors from Midtown set up booths at Living Stones Church outdoor parking lot to offer food and drink, as well as free Elsa-style hair braiding and glittery henna designs.

The sounds of live music, carols, and laughter filled the crisp evening air as children bundled in thick jackets chased each other past festively lit booths while their parents watched and sipped hot chocolate cocktails.

Craig Parish, the vice president of the Midtown District board, said organizers designed the event to celebrate the holidays and “bring a lot of cheer to Midtown as it’s undergoing [a] transformation.”

a band dressed in Santa clothes plays music for young children

Soup restaurant SÜP offered a menu of chili and tomato bisque along with cornbread muffins and various treats. Owner Christian Christensen was amazed by the size of the crowd and enthusiastic about the neighborhood post-construction.

“[This party is special because of] the organic nature of it. It’s all individual businesses that have made this happen,” he said, adding, “we’re hopefully going to be finished up [with construction] this summer, and by then it’s going to be a brand new facelift on the neighborhood.”

I like the environment and the lights and everything, and Santa’s here, so that’s a plus.”

Over 2000 people marked “going” or “interested” on the Facebook event page, and folks from all over Reno came to celebrate the start of the season with a tree-lighting and to support the local economy.

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Jennifer Brown met friends at the event and was surprised by the large turnout and number of food trucks and vendors. She loved the vibe and said,” I think it’s cool to have an event in Midtown that the community can come out and enjoy, especially being the holiday season. Makes it a little more magical.”

No one was more excited about the party than Anna Ramirez’s four-year-old daughter, who became speechless after she met Santa in the crowd.

santa poses with a young girl and her mother

“[I came for] the Christmas event and for my daughter to have fun and enjoy the music and everything. I didn’t know it was going to be outside, but it’s pretty cool. I like the environment and the lights and everything, and Santa’s here, so that’s a plus,” said Ramirez with a laugh.

Volunteers handed out hot cocoa and gave visitors free swag with Midtown’s new logo on it.

The Abbi Agency designed the logo pro-bono and used distinct characters for each letter of Midtown to showcase the eclectic, yet cohesive nature of the district.

“Each letter is a little different and represents all the different kinds of businesses that we have and the quirkiness [of the community],” said Christensen.

Mike Mumford, the worship pastor for Living Stones Church, emphasized the inclusive nature of the event.

“The Midtown community is a diverse place, lots of different ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, from all different walks of life, and they call this place home. And so we just wanted to make a place where people could ring in the holidays together,” he said.

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Organizers encourage the community to continue to support local businesses by shopping in the area and volunteering for the Midtown District.

Tabitha Mueller
About Tabitha Mueller 24 Articles
Tabitha Mueller is a freelance writer and multimedia journalist based out of Reno, Nevada. She is fascinated by storytelling, place, and the intersection of narrative and data analysis and holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and English and American Literatures from Middlebury College. When she is not tracking down a story or listening to podcasts, you can find her hiking Nevada’s gorgeous terrain, perusing local bookstores, playing Quidditch, and discovering Reno’s hidden stories.