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Both foot and car traffic whizzes through the streets of downtown Columbia during the two hours of the festival. Photo by George Frey / Bearing News

Living Windows 2018 kick starts holiday season

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.

“Christmas Vacation was our inspiration, as we all enjoy the movie,” Weter said.

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.”

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5 comments

Sarah December 14, 2018 at 9:12 pm

I’ve never been to living windows, but I really love downtown Columbia so this would be such a fun thing to do! The pictures are really great and I want to go next year!

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Maddie December 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Getting to go to Living Windows every year has been a great tradition for my family. I’m so glad to see that it’s continuing and improving, love how annual celebrations in Columbia impacts families and students!

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Lupita A December 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Love the pictures! They really capture the vibe/environment of Living Windows. I plan to go next time!

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Alma Jarbou December 11, 2018 at 5:39 pm

I hadn’t even known that there was a living windows celebration, and I’ve lived in Columbia for 14 years! It was cool to learn more about the city I live in.

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Ross December 10, 2018 at 7:55 pm

This is pretty neat, I’ve lived in Columbia my whole life and never knew this was a thing.

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