Alive and Kickin' Part 4

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Usually this time of year, Hometown Christmas would leave downtown Defuniak bustling, but this year, Christopher Edwards plays his guitar to almost empty crowd.

"I always remember Hometown Christmas being downtown here on Baldwin and all the small shops around here."

Hometown Christmas has dealt with bad weather for four out of the past five years and many vendors had threatened to pull out, so officials from the Defuniak Springs Business and Professional Association decided to move Hometown Christmas to the covered fairgrounds.

They also changed the date to Saturday because many people worked on Friday, two admittedly tough decisions.

"We were going to lose Hometown Christmas if we didn't make some changes and we just didn't want to do that."

That's not much consolation for downtown businesses. Linda Betts has worked at Nature's Health and Food Store for the past 10 years. She says she's worried the festival's absence will hurt but realizes something had to be done.

"If we don't have downtown vendors that are willing to show up then we have no Hometown Christmas, so I can understand their need to have to move it to the fairgrounds."

Betts and many of her neighbors have since put up sales flyers at the fairgrounds.

"We're hoping that will work and help remind people that we do still exist in the downtown area."

Sarah Commander of the DBPA sympathizes, but says the move was necessary.

"You can't expect crafters with their beautiful wares to come to town and have them rained on, or last year for example the wind was so strong it blew the tents away."

The Defuniak Springs Business and Professional Association says they will also encourage shoppers to take a trip downtown.