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Home » About Us » Voting Opens as 34 Downtown Businesses Reveal Holiday Window Display(s) in Window Wonderland Contest; Plus Seasonal Staff Members Dash & Dot (Downtown Elves) Promote Meaningful Gift Options in Downtown Syracuse

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Voting Opens as 34 Downtown Businesses Reveal Holiday Window Display(s) in Window Wonderland Contest; Plus Seasonal Staff Members Dash & Dot (Downtown Elves) Promote Meaningful Gift Options in Downtown Syracuse

Syracuse, NY – As traditions bring the community into Downtown Syracuse to celebrate the holiday season – especially with a spotlight shining on the City of Syracuse’s Tree Lighting Ceremony this evening – the Downtown Committee kicks off two of its most popular contests to further engage neighbors and visitors, and encourage repeat visits to Downtown Syracuse throughout the holiday season.

Window Wonderland Contest: A record 34 businesses have transformed their ground-floor windows into engaging winter and holiday scenes to participate in the 4th Annual Window Wonderland Contest. The promotion was designed to boost holiday spirit, entertain visitors and attract new customers to experience Downtown’s variety of retail, restaurant and cultural offerings. The contest continues until New Year’s Day, with the idea that while families and neighbors are out and about – whether it’s for theTree Lighting Ceremony this evening, Small Business Saturday shopping tomorrow, Holidays in the City next Saturday, or other favorite traditions – that they’ll also incorporate the window displays outlined in this map into their plans.

  • How to Vote: An “Official Window Wonderland Contest Entry” sign signifies a storefront’s participation. The community will be able to vote for their favorite displays until December 31, 2019. A link to vote online is posted here, accessible via smartphones and desktop computers. Photos of the displays are posted (and additional photos will be added as they are received). Winning displays will be announced in the Downtown Committee’s News & Events newsletter on Thursday, January 2, and a press release will be sent out to the media that morning.
  • Prizes: The business featuring the display with the most votes will receive a grand prize of $500; second place will be awarded $250, and third place will fetch $100.

The Window Wonderland Contest has gained momentum every year since its inception in 2016, growing both in terms of participating businesses and votes. Last year, the contest brought in nearly 2,220 votes.

Dash and Dot, the Downtown Elves, Return: The Downtown Committee’s seasonal staff members, Dash and Dot, the North Pole Downtown elves, will also help to highlight Downtown as a retail destination. The elves returned to Downtown Syracuse this morning and they’ll spend the next month spreading cheer and promoting meaningful gift options found in Downtown’s retail shops, restaurants, hotels and cultural institutions. Each day through December 24, the elves will visit a new place, and post pictures of their adventures across the Downtown Committee’s social media platforms. Followers are encouraged to guess the business locations of the elves by sending their “guesses” to Each correct guess earns an entry into a weekly drawing to win gift cards to Downtown businesses. This is the fifth year that Dash and Dot have been part of the holiday program. The community may follow their adventures by following the Downtown Committee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“We know that Downtown Syracuse is a favorite place for making holiday memories, and offers a variety of thoughtful, unique gift options,” said Merike Treier, executive director of the Downtown Committee. “Our team puts together these contests to complement the hard work of our retailers, cultural institutions and restaurateurs year-round. It’s our hope that these fun, visible efforts help stir new appreciation for Downtown’s all-star businesses.”

In addition, the Downtown Committee continues a newer tradition first introduced last year, involving a 10-foot lighted star “selfie spot” in Hanover Square. The Downtown Star, is meant to serve as a welcoming beacon for Downtown residents, employees and visitors. It’s hoped that when people stop at the star, they’ll think about their wishes for our community, take a “selfie,” and then share the image across social media platforms, using the hashtag, #IWish. Thanks to support from Pathfinder Bank, the Downtown Star will illuminate Hanover Square through the end of December.

The Downtown Committee’s Marketing and Communications team also puts together special holiday electronic newsletters – sent out every Thursday afternoon through the end of December – highlighting specials at Downtown businesses and all of the exciting holiday activities happening throughout Downtown Syracuse. Community members are encouraged to subscribe to the electronic newsletter by emailing