Think of it as a pub crawl, minus a few drinking stops but with lots of downtown Joliet restaurants and stores waiting to roll out the red carpet with live music, free samples and lots of door prizes and drawings.
Organizers think the Downtown Joliet Holiday Hop will celebrating the Christmas season with a unique walking party of sorts that will not only offer entertainment but introduce some people to places they haven't yet tried, merchant spokeswomen Hallie Brenczewski.
Participants will gather either at Brenczewski's restaurant/bar The Department, 205 N. Chicago St., or Judge's Bar, 35 E. Cass St., at 5 p.m. Dec. 7.
At 6 p.m., a tour leader will gather the group together so they can depart en masse and make their way to Gji’s Sweet Shoppe, Thayer’s 158, Jitters Coffee House, McBrody’s, Red Goose Bakery, Gallery 7 and Chicago Street Pub.
Each business owner will be waiting for the crowd with entertainment and surprises, and there will be door prizes, raffle drawings, drink specials and other activities, Brenczewski said.
When it's time to leave for the next destination, the tour leader will ring a bell signaling it's time to start walking again, she said.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Brenczewski said. "The crowd will stay together for the whole night, which we think will make it really festive."
While there "won't be a ton of time at each place," she said, it will be enough for participants to make gift purchases or get gift ideas and to get a feel for a place so that they might return in the future.
Some businesses will be selling gift items, such as Gji's Sweet Shoppe and Jitters Coffee House, while others will be selling gift certificates, some of which come with added incentives for the purchaser.
There's no size limit on the crowd, but the organizers need people to make reservations so store owners can ensure they have enough items on hand, Brenczewski said.
To make a reservation, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.