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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

The 12th Annual One Enchanted Evening in Clovis

Oct 27, 2015 10:59AM ● By Brandi Barnett

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

November 2015
By Jordan Venema

It’s nearly that time of year, when sharper winds and chillier evenings will usher in the holiday season. Pumpkin spice has already arrived, and the leaves have begun to fall, but not until the carols are sung and the cocoa served can we really say, ah, Christmas.
For some, the holiday season begins sooner, and for others a little later, but in Old Town Clovis the Christmas season comes regularly. Every Thursday before Thanksgiving, the Business Organization of Old Town transforms Old Town Clovis for One Enchanted Evening, an annual tradition entering its 12th year.
This year, the event falls on Nov. 19, and begins at 5pm. As the late fall evenings come more quickly, shop lights and frosted windows will shine all the brighter, welcoming Clovis and Valley residents to a night of eating, drinking and caroling. All in all, the evening is a perfect primer for getting in the Christmas spirit.
“If it’s a cold, crisp night, it’s a nice thing to do for the fall,” says Carole Lester, executive director of the Business Organization of Old Town. “It’s a great way to start the season.”
With each passing year, One Enchanted Evening has included more businesses and welcomed more guests to Old Town Clovis. “Basically, it used to be a cookies-and-punch kind of evening, and an evening that guests could come out and see the decorated stores,” says Lester. “It’s grown significantly over the last few years.”
Anywhere between 5,000 and 8,000 people come out to follow the luminaries from shop to shop, meet with local owners and participate in the free horse-drawn carriage rides. 

“I’m always astonished at the lines for the carriage rides,” Lester says. “The kids just love it, and it’s a great family thing to do.” Free rides continue between 1 and 4pm every Saturday and Sunday through the weekend before Christmas.
Overall, Lester says One Enchanted Evening adds up to a pretty magical night. “The arbors are all lit up with lights and hanging stars, Christmas music is piped through a PA system, the carolers go around,” Lester says. “Just listening to the jingling of the carriages and the clip-clopping of the horses’ hoofs – it gives a whole different feeling.”
That feeling is the real allure of One Enchanted Evening: not only the Christmas atmosphere, but also a kind of holiday timelessness. Shop owners and carolers wear Victorian-inspired attire. Choral groups like Jubilation Singers, Gold Note Chorus and Voices United dress up and sing carols. And should Santa arrive, nobody would be surprised to see him walking down the street.
In true Dickensian Christmas fashion, shop owners offer food and drink to whomever walks through their doors. “We have a lot of stores that do really stunning designs for their windows,” says Lester, “and a lot of the antique stores – we have 12 or 13 – get way into it.” Owners often frost their store windows, and deck their halls with lights and decorations. “They like to see if they can outdo themselves each year,” Lester says. “The ante seems to go up each year.

One Enchanted Evening is really the chance to thank the customers who’ve supported small businesses. And that, says Lester, is the purpose of this event: to say thank you, and to give shops the opportunity “to showcase not just what they’ve decorated, but what they sell, what they offer, so people will come back and remember to shop local.”
There’s an added incentive for people visiting these shops during One Enchanted Evening. Every participating shop will offer guests an entry into a drawing; every store visited is an extra ticket toward the free raffle. At the end of the event, three winners will be chosen. Three prizes will be awarded – $250, $150 and $100 “scrips” – which are like “play money” that can be used at participating stores.
As if small towns needed any more charm, ye olde towne of Clovis will get an extra dose on one fall evening. So come all ye faithful and all of good cheer, and celebrate the holiday season for One Enchanted Evening – sing some carols, enjoy a cup of cocoa, bring the family, but Grinches need not apply.

One Enchanted Evening • November 19, 5-8pm
Business Organization of Old Town (Clovis)