Downtown businesses preparing for Midnight Madness

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Cumberland Times-News

Annual holiday shopping event Thursday on pedestrian mall

CUMBERLAND - Three years ago Margy Pein, owner of Tree House Toy Shop, suggested it would be great to have one night during the holiday season that shops would stay open really late and offer great bargains.  She took her idea to some of the Downtown Cumberland stores and to Ed Mullaney, downtown manager and her concept mushroomed to include nearly all of the shops and businesses located in the downtown district.

Midnight Madness has proven to be a big hit with shoppers and diners who loved the feel of a traditional Christmas evening in downtown Cumberland.  It was so successful that it has become a downtown tradition.  Sponsored by the Downtown Cumberland Business Association and Main Street Cumberland, this year's event is schedule for Thursday from 6 p.m. to midnight.

"Midnight Madness is a great evening for the whole family," said Mullaney.  "It's a good time for the community to support our local small businesses.  Studies have shown that for every $100 you spend with locally-owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community.  Compare that with $43 return at the national chain and zero when you spend it out-of-town or online and you get an indication on how important local businesses are to the community."

DJ Mark Stevens will be spinning holiday favorites on the Rusco Town Centre stage.  Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making a visit along with their friends, Rudolph and Frosty.  Free illuminated carriage rides will also be available throughout the evening.  Free trolley rides to and from the shops with Santa and Mrs. Claus will run throughout the evening.

"This event really is a great example of teamwork," said Mullaney.  "Everyone is working together to make this a fun night in downtown Cumberland.  It's sort of like a summertime Friday After Five, only during the winter holiday season."

This year, Fill the Sleigh for Toys for Happiness will be located on the Rusco Town Centre stage.  Midnight Madness includes stores and businesses located on Baltimore, Centre, Liberty, Mechanic, Pershing, Harrison Streets as well as Queen City Drive and Canal Place.

A complete schedule of holiday events can be found at www.mainstreetcumberland.com