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Local businesses hope holiday festivals will lead to big Christmas sales

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It's the season for many business associations in our city to host holiday festivals.

It's one of many tools they use to encourage people to support local businesses.

The 11th annual All is Bright festival on 124 Street is one of those festivals.

"It's really an opportunity for people to come, walk on the street, enjoy some of the activities that we have like Santa Claus, we'll have a beverage garden, we'll have some s'mores that people can enjoy," Luwam Kiflemariam of the 124 Street Business Association said.

Kiflemariam says this year it's more important than ever to support small businesses.

"A lot of businesses are doing their best to hold on, and we’re doing our best to encourage people to shop local."

The owner of The Prints and the Paper says the festival has a huge impact on his business.

"You get exposure to a lot of people that wouldn’t see your store otherwise," Sandy Muldrew said.

According to a recent BMO survey, Canadians plan to buy fewer gifts and spend less on them.

Muldrew says shopping habits have definitely changed this year.

"I would say sales were down, not significantly but enough to take notice."

Sandy Muldrew of The Prints and the Paper.

For many small businesses, December is an important month for sales.

Muldrew says it's 25 to 30 per cent of his full year of business.

"I don't get sick, I'm a one man show so I've got to be careful."

"If I had to close for some reason it would be disastrous."

Muldrew says last year's festival was a record day of sales for his store.

"Last year was my busiest day of sales ever, so that was great. I'm hoping this year breaks the record."

The All is Bright festival runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday and is free to the public. 

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