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Winter nights under the lights

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While this column normally focuses on what individuals can do to make a difference, it is nice to recognize a city that wants to make a difference for its citizens and businesses.

Lawrence, KS can boast that it is likely the only city in the U.S. that still has its downtown Christmas lights on display. While a few households may leave their Christmas lights up all year, it is a given that all municipalities begin taking down decorations as soon after New Years as weather permits.

So, what prompted this change in protocol?

The city uses LED lights on the trees that adorn Massachusetts Street which is the center strip downtown. Therefore, they are not nearly as expensive to operate. Couple that with the beauty and attraction they bring to an otherwise dark winter night, and you have a great marketing opportunity with a unique difference.

On a recent Thursday evening, which is the typical week night when stores remain open late, the city promoted a "Winter Night under the Lights" theme. Stores offered special discounts and it gave shoppers and strollers an opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of a perfectly lit downtown. This is also an event that Lawrence hopes to promote annually.

One of those responsible for the promotion through the Downtown Lawrence, Inc., said she really hoped to have the lights remain until Valentine's Day. So, if you already miss your Christmas lights and maybe feel sad that the holiday is over, do something different. Visit the stores in downtown Lawrence and thank them for helping to keep the lights up a little longer.

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