Hundreds of Juneau residents young and old joined together under twinkling lights in downtown Juneau to celebrate the annual downtown Business Association’s Gallery Walk Friday evening.
The main streets of downtown were shut down for the event as the smell of hot chocolate and the sounds of holiday songs lingered throughout the crowds of capital city residents. The event featured dozens of live music performances, local artists and holiday festivities across multiple venues.
Jules Wylie-Ross and Grace Lee stood just inches from the glass pane that separated them from the whirling trains and miniature hot air balloons featured in a holiday window display on the corner of Third and Seward streets.
Jules’ mother, Cate Wylie-Ross, said she grew up in Juneau and remembers going to the gallery walk when she was a kid. She said it’s special for her to now bring her young daughter to experience the same thing years later.
“It’s fun to share it with my kid,” Cate said. “I remember going to this for as long as I can remember.”
Brett Hutchinson, the driver of the Holiday Trolley, said he’s driven the trolley for more than five gallery walks over the years and is excited to participate again this time around.
“It’s a way to interact with the community that we don’t usually get to,” he said. “It’s just a good time and a special thing.”
Even the Grinch found himself in the holiday spirit strolling around the streets of downtown Juneau posing in photos for kids and hoping to find a gift for himself along the way.
“This year’s Gallery Walk is very fine, no one has given me a gift so far, but they gave them all to Santa and it looks like he has plenty, so I think those should go to all of the children,” said the Grinch.
Juneau Community Charter School was also out for this year’s Gallery Walk selling peppermint soap and cottonwood salve for $7 with all the money raised going towards a middle school field trip.
Dale Hudson, who has been known to moonlight as Santa Claus, has been delighting children during Gallery Walk in front of his wife’s shop Nana’s Attic for the last 6 years. His day job is working with Gold Creek Child Development Center in the Federal building, which he said has a lot to do with why he loves playing the role of Santa.
“Meeting the people and the kids, they’re all surprised that I’m out here and surprised that I’m so readily available,” Hudson said.