Well, the decorations are up. The judges have judged. The votes have been tallied and these are the results of what promises to be the start of an annual holiday competition – the Hampden Village Merchants Association Storefront Decorating Contest.
Congratulations go to Best Overall winner Hampden Junque, 1006 W. 36th St., and runner-up Paradiso, 1015 W. 36th St. But the real winners are all of us who get to walk around and see the results of the decorating efforts of about 25 participating businesses.
Artist Scott Campbell (the video game Brutal Legend) will be showing his art, discussing his work and signing copies of his new book, "Amazing Everything," at Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road., on Dec. 9.
The Hampden Family Center, 1104 W. 36th St. is having its annual Christmas party Dec. 10, from 11-1 p.m. The party will feature Santa, lunch, craft activities, small wrapped presents and much more. Stop by the family center to register. You must reserve tickets in advance due to limited space. Donations are welcome. For more information, call 410-467-8710.
Also on the 10th, Minás Gallery & Boutique, 815 W. 36th St., hosts an opening night reception for Karen Flann's new exhibit, "Leaving Iowa," a series of collages that explore the idea of leaving home and longing for home. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. The exhibit will run through Feb. 26.
Dec. 15 is your chance to join the Hampden Holiday Hop Shopping Crawl, sponsored by Yelp Shops Local and the Hampden Village Merchants Association. Businesses have pledged to give part of their earnings from the crawl to various Hampden-area nonprofits, including the Roosevelt Recreation Center, the Maryland SPCA, the Hampden Family Center and Action In Maturity. On top of that, many retailers are offering a discount to shoppers on their purchases as well, so make sure you ask!
Enjoy light bites and sips as your gift-buying turns into gift-giving right there on the spot! The crawl starts at 5 p.m., at Doubledutch Boutique. Other participating businesses include Charlotte Elliott, Fleckenstein Gallery & Archival Framing, K Station Boutique, Trohv, Earth Alley, Party Dress, In the Details, Soft and Cozy Baby, Atomic Books, Sugar, Sixteen Tons, Milagro, Avenue Antiques, Ma Petite Shoe, In Watermelon Sugar and The Bottom Drawer. It's a fun opportunity to shop locally, to find discounts and treats, and to support local nonprofits that server our community.
And craft beer enthusiasts take note, Jerry Cowan of Shmaltz Brewing, author of "Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah," will be discussing his beer and book Dec. 16. There will also be a tasting. The event takes place at Atomic Books from 6-8 p.m.
On Dec. 18, Sarah Jane Miller hosts a Town Square Open Mic, starting at 4 p.m., at Minás. The rule is, "If you can read it, perform it, sing it or say it with little or no amplification, then bring it on!" For more information contact Sarah Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, Santa will be on The Avenue, walking around, updating his naughty and nice list and posing for pictures Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 17-18, from 1-6 p.m. all four days..