Cambridge Second Saturday festivities ring in holiday season

Three new stores, two anniversary parties, & gallery openings during Nov. 12 festivities in downtown Cambridge

Downtown Cambridge will celebrate the start of the holiday shopping season this weekend with a “Second Saturday” event that showcases three brand new shops and celebrates a three anniversaries at established stores, all on top of an array of free gallery receptions, sampling sessions, late shopping hours, live music and other special events.

“We’ll be welcoming some newcomers to our business community and marking the successes of old friends, and we’re hoping to have a big turnout for the celebration,” said Jim Duffy of Cambridge Main Street, the nonprofit group that organizes Second Saturdays. “It’s going to be like a big progressive party, with a different bit of fun on tap at every stop as you make your way through shops and restaurants and galleries.”

Festivities run from 5-9 pm along a four block stretch of downtown, with abundant free parking available in lots and along nearby streets.

Two of the three new businesses arrived downtown through Main Street’s award-winning Pop Up Contest, in which contestants submit business concepts and the top concepts win two months of free rent for a test run of the business. This year’s contest winners are:

• Pet Threadz, a specialty shop featuring clothing and accessories for pets. Owned by Amanda and Virginia Knauff, the shop is located at 315 Gay Street.

• Bliss, a jewelry store owned by April Dean Whitacre. The second location for a successful shop operating in St. Michaels, Bliss is located at 501 Poplar Street. Most items in the store are priced below $30.

A third new business will be opening its doors on Saturday independent of the contest. Just Yesterday features an eclectic array of home furnishings and décor, jewelry, paintings, scroll arts, and gift items. The business is owned by Cambridge resident Jim Cox and located at 317 High Street.

Three key businesses in the heart of the downtown area will be marking anniversaries with free receptions on Second Saturday. Owner Heidi Griebel will be celebrating the seventh birthday of her shop, Sunnyside, 500 Poplar Street. The event will feature a gallery-style reception featuring artists from the Mid-Shore, including Ann Hynes, author Kristina Henry, and photographer Julie Heikes.

Owner Joe Staniforth will be marking the 11th anniversary of her opening the Joie de Vivre Gallery, 410 Race Street. Featured artists in the anniversary show include Mary Ann Schindler, Lisa Krentel, Heidi Wetzel, Elissa Crouch, and more.

Malina Custom Leather, 518 Poplar Street, will be celebrating its first anniversary on Second Saturday. Stop in to see owner Dennis Napolitan’s hand-crafted leather work.

“We’d like to join with everyone in the downtown business community in congratulating Joy and Heidi and Dennis,” Duffy said. “They’ve all been such a great and positive presence in our downtown—and our whole town.”

A number of other shops and restaurants are planning special events for Second Saturday:

• A Few of My Favorite Things, 414 Race Street, will have a wine tasting and cheese pairing from 5:30 to 7:30 pm with certified wine specialist Ray O’Mara, Jr.

• At Crabi Gras, 432 Race Street, representatives from Cape Seasonings will be serving up samples of their snack products and seasonings. Crabi Gras will also have specials on Shore-themed T-shirts and hot sauces.

• Dragonfly Boutique, 406 Race Street, will be offering its Cold Play special with discounts on cold-weather apparel, denim, and shoes.

• The Main Street Gallery, Dorchester Center for the Arts, and the Danny Doughty Gallery will all be offering free meet-the-artist receptions. (See accompanying story about the Second Saturday “Art Walk.”)

On top of all the free goodies and special sales in shops and galleries, downtown restaurants will be hopping on Second Saturday. The High Spot, 305 High Street, features half-price big bottles of beer and happy hour prices starting at 9 pm. The live music lineup includes Sweetwater at Leaky Pete’s, 404 Race Street, and Still Counting at Jimmie & Sook’s, 527 Poplar Street. Live music is expected also at Canvasback Restaurant, 420 Race Street.

Caption: Amanda and Virginia Knauff opened their new shop, Pet Threadz, through the Pop Up Contest, a competition organized by Cambridge Main Street that rewards the best business concepts with a free-rent trial period. The Knauffs’ specialize in custom costumes for dogs of all sizes, as well as an array of pet accessories.

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