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story.lead_photo.caption Sally Ince/News TribuneThe Solid Rock Church Band performs Friday outside of Ana Marie's during the Downtown Living Windows event.

Although Jefferson City's Downtown Living Windows event will not take place this year, the event's planning committee has created some alternative holiday activities in its place.

Living Windows typically includes live performances or interactive displays at downtown shops and restaurants, which will not happen this year.

However, festive decorations and a new Holiday Hunt event will be available for residents and visitors looking to support downtown businesses this holiday season.

Natalie Newville, Living Windows chairwoman and Downtown Association vice president, said they wanted to come up with alternatives that wouldn't draw huge crowds all at one time, like Living Windows does.

"The committee spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do this safely," Newville said. "We wanted everyone to be able to celebrate the holidays and be downtown in a safe manner."

The Holiday Window Decorating Contest allows downtown businesses to decorate their windows with holiday themes for a chance to win first, second or third place and a people's choice award.

"We're excited about that," Newville said. "We think it will be fun and kind of add a festive air to the downtown area."

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The windows need to be decorated by Nov. 27. After that, residents strolling the streets will be able to vote for their favorites using on-site QR codes or website addresses.

Voting will end Dec. 5. Newville said they hope this will allow people to vote when they are downtown for the Jefferson City Jaycees Christmas parade Dec. 5.

A group of "celebrity judges" will decide on the winners of the first-, second- and third-place prizes. Winners will be announced Dec. 6.

The Downtown Association is also introducing a new activity, the Holiday Hunt, to encourage people to shop locally and support downtown Jefferson City businesses.

Beginning Nov. 7, residents will be able to pick up a Holiday Hunt passport at participating businesses. Stamps on the passport can be collected by making purchases at any participating business from then until Dec. 28.

Completed passports can be turned in at Missouri River Regional Library or the downtown Hawthorn Bank. Two winners will be randomly selected Dec. 31 to win either a $100 or $50 downtown gift card.

Newville said they don't have the list of participating businesses yet, but they hope to include as many as they can.

"We're really trying to make this a great way to drive business downtown," Newville said. "Obviously, we want people to support their local companies and local businesses, especially this year."

Newville said they also hope to collect some videos of performers that would typically be part of Living Windows to share on social media.

A Living Windows tradition, a magical mailbox to the North Pole, will still be in place at the Jefferson City library.

Children can write letters to Santa and drop them off Nov. 28-Dec. 6 in the mailbox in the children's area of the library at 214 Adams St.

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