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by Ann M. Colford


Buried deep in our collective memories lie visions of magical elves and talking animals amid the snow and glitter of the holiday season. For people growing up in Spokane, the annual trip to the windows of the Crescent department store was the highlight of every year and a sight sure to renew those visions of an enchanted winter forest.


Again this year, downtown merchants are joining forces to create magical visions in their store windows for the holiday season. Nearly two dozen windows all around downtown are dressed to the nines for holiday shoppers. Five featured window displays bring to life some of the original Crescent critters along with a gaggle of new friends.


At Auntie's Bookstore, SFCC interior design instructor Carrie Vielle and the students of the Interior Design Club return with a group of happy, busy marmots enjoying the fun of winter -- and you know Auntie will be there, too.


Designer Michael Bagley of LCD Exposition Services has created four window designs this year, all featuring animated holiday scenes. At Bon-Macy's, we see the magical world under the Christmas tree; across the street at Crescent Court, a crew of magical critters have taken over the old Crescent windows, creating new memories for a new generation. Around the corner at 120 N. Wall, a group of mystical wizards spread their own special holiday magic; and at the former Children's Museum space on North Post, Bagley's giant gingerbread house anchors his vision of Candyland where elves are busy at work, decorating for the holidays.


As a new twist this year, shoppers and visitors can take part in an "I Spy" contest, searching the five featured window displays for a hidden Downtown Spokane snow globe. Once you've found the snow globe, just fill out and submit the official entry form (on page 8) for a chance to win a family weekend downtown with certificates for lodging, food and shopping. You'll also get your very own snow globe as a souvenir.

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