Monday April 21st 2014

BE MERRY, SHOP LIKE MAD

By: Shannon Bryan

Merry Madness

5-10 pm Thurs, Dec 13

 

Shopping should be a delight. And it is – when you subtract the stagnant lines, evasive parking spots, and the frightening intensity of some of your fellow patrons. Shopping can be harrowing. It’s no wonder so many people resort to giving Starbuck’s gift cards purchased at the Rite Aid counter (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

But what can a shopper do? It’s not like local boutiques are going to stay open late just for your convenience. Shop owners won’t fill up a wine glass with a complimentary refreshment for your browsing pleasure or offer you tapas while you rummage the sale rack.

Except they will.

The 10th annual Merry Madness downtown shopping event is stretching store hours to 10 pm on Thursday. Over 70 Portland shops are participating this year, many offering beverages and light grub while you peruse the wares.

The madness begins with a reception at Portland Regency Hotel from 5-6 pm where shoppers can mingle, pick up a map, and purchase a $7 wine glass. And yes, there will be wine in that glass. Hold onto it. It’ll come in handy at the shops.

To help shop-goers navigate downtown, an information booth will be open in Tommy’s Park from 5-8 pm to answer questions and point folks in the right direction. And forget fretting over the car. There will be free horse and wagon rides running from 5-9 pm through downtown, with pick-up and drop-off at Monument Square.

FMI and a full list of shops: www.portlandmaine.com/cornerstone-events/merry-madness/