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We’re Open KC: Independence Square modifies 'Living Windows' event for pandemic

independence square shop.jpg
Posted at 6:03 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 07:03:22-05

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The holiday shopping season looks different at stores around the square in downtown Independence, Missouri.

Retailers modified the popular “Living Windows” event in 2020 because of concerns about COVID-19, but they still want to encourage shoppers to buy local in a safe manner.

Normally during the one-night Living Windows event, people pack into storefront window displays to sing Christmas carols, perform music and act out nativity scenes. This year, retailers decorated their storefronts to the extreme and will leave the static displays in place until the end of the year.

“I think everyone is just dying to feel good and to feel some sense of bringing back some tradition to experience,” said Cindy McClain, whose family owns 15 businesses around Independence Square.

About 30 windows around the square are decorated. McClain said she’s placed more merchandise in the windows than ever before.

“For retailers, since there are people walking by, people are literally window shopping now,” she said. “Where we kind of lost that art, that’s back again because they can walk by and see the products. So we have more product in the window than we’ve ever had.”

The store owner said buying local keeps businesses open that employ people and add vibrancy to downtown areas like Independence Square.

The Up Dog restaurant has gingerbread houses on display in its windows. The houses are part of a fundraiser for Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity. The display has already raised more than $25,000 for the organization.

Shoppers will also notice a new urban park at the square. Thanks to a $5,000 grant, the Independence Square Association created Liberty Lounge at 110 South Liberty St.

We've created a Facebook group, We're Open Kansas City, where members of the community can post businesses serving their community.