If you’ve noticed that the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard in Brookfield has looked a little extra festive this holiday season, it’s not a mistake. Merchants on the block stepped up efforts to making the season merry and bright by partnering with the village, the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, the Brookfield Public Library and CEP Youth Leadership.
The most visible result of the collaboration is the decorations. Encouraged by the village’s cooperation this summer when merchants wanted to plant flowers in the hanging baskets along the boulevard, business owners asked if they could use the flower pots as holiday-themed planters in December.
On Dec. 3, about10 volunteers spent the morning arranging pine boughs in the planters that hang on the light poles along Grand Boulevard. The greenery came from trees at the homes of the volunteers and their neighbors, while Chris Borzym, owner of Christopher Mark Florist, received a donation of balsam branches from a wholesaler and provided the red ribbons.
Borzym also took orders from fellow merchants for evergreen garland, which he got at wholesale prices. The garland can be found draped on the facades of many businesses in the district.
Meanwhile, 20 kids from CEP Youth Leadership pitched in to paint snow scenes on the windows of many businesses starting the Monday before Thanksgiving.
“We tried to do our thing and make it look quaint,” said Patty Weber, owner of Le Grand Dcor. “We chose to keep it simple. The instructions were to paint low snow banks, so businesses can still display merchandise.”
When the season is over, the paint simply can be washed off with soap and water, Weber said.
The result is not only more decorations and holiday greenery, but also a literacy campaign to boot. “It’s Snowing Stories in Brookfield” is the theme of the effort and the festive atmosphere in the area is meant to attract families to participate not only in supporting local businesses, but the reading program as well.
Signs referring to holiday-themed books can be found on the windows of participating businesses, and shoppers can pick up a booklet, where they can mark down where they saw book titles and passages from them. The books are on display at the library throughout the campaign, which ends on Jan. 15. After that, participants can return the completed booklets to the library and claim a participation ribbon.