Every year on Dec. 7, downtown Columbia brings in thousands of locals and tourists for the Living Windows celebration. Where the various merchants on 9th Street and Broadway showcase their quirky styles by having employees and volunteers perform for spectators. The celebration drew not only families and tourists, but also University of Missouri-Columbia students, like senior Megan Infield, who has been attending the celebration for several years.
“I’m actually a Columbia native, so I’ve been coming here for quite a few years,” Infield said. “It’s definitely grown quite a bit.”
Fringe Boutique on Broadway had a display that was based on the John Hughes classic, 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Brady Weter, Mary Jacobi, and Matt Middendorf were selected as a part of the exhibit because of their friendship with the store owner.
“We’re just doing this cause our friends own it, so these guys got volunteered to be in the windows tonight,” Jacobi said.
Jacobi’s fellow performer, Brady Weter, was inspired by the 80s aesthetic in the film and wanted to draw upon that to form this year’s display.
Many of the elaborate scenes reflected the store’s individual local identity. Such as Yellow Dog Bookshop on 9th street, which featured a Harry Potter themed display; Columbia native Struby Struble, who now lives in Oakland, Calif., came back to Columbia for the celebration to perform a reenactment, of Harry Potter with her niece Sally Chevalier and nephew Boo Chevalier.
“I used to live here and this is part of the winter holiday I come back for,” Struble said. “This is my chance to be with them [Sally & Boo]. And it’s a really fun tradition. The first year, the family just had the living windows.”
The celebration serves as not only a manifestation of the holiday spirit but is a real-life example of how much Columbia has grown in the past several years. The festival was able to engage many attendees and get the city into the holiday spirit.
“Some stores have fake snow coming out and I was like ‘wow this is so cool! We have fake snow now,”’ Infield said. “I definitely feel like the holidays are here.”