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DecTheTown making a list, checking it twice for downtown Decatur Christmas events

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DECATUR — A one-stop shopping list of Christmas activities can be found for all things Decatur on the Facebook page DecTheTown.

The page was created two years ago with the focus on promoting the city’s local businesses, according to Jerry Johnson, Decatur Area Arts Council executive director. “A group of downtown organizations stepped up to try and promote downtown Christmas,” he said.

The arts council and the Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau were involved with, and now manage, the page.

“It was a focal point for all the events that happened downtown during the Christmas season,” said Teri Hammel, executive director for the Visitors Bureau. “Familiarity is a great way for people to stay in tune to updates and changes.”

For example, a Downtown Christmas Walk post encouraged the businesses to include their information. “So that all the downtown businesses wouldn’t create their own Facebook event,” Johnson said. “It would be a single event that they could all be tied to, and we could all have a common message and facts and information about that particular event.”

The businesses are able to co-host an event with each other. “You can invite other Facebook pages to host an event with you,” Johnson said.

As part of the DecTheTown Downtown Christmas Walk event, Johnson invited approximately 15 businesses to join together, allowing them all to spread the message to multiple pages. Details are given on several pages for the one event.

The updates are added to the page multiple times throughout any day during the holiday season. Although the page is focused on the Christmas season, other holiday events are posted as well. Witches Night Out was another event promoted on the page. “It connects with downtown Decatur businesses and retail,” Johnson said about the posts. “But the page is still going to focus around the last three months of the year.”

Since the Facebook page focuses on the winter holiday season, other yearly events, such as summer activities, may not be appropriate for the site, according to Hammel. “I don’t know that DecTheTown would be the best resource for those,” she said. “It’s more of a Christmas theme.”

The page is not limited to downtown events and businesses. “But Shop Local is the persistent theme,” Johnson said.

Decatur's Salvation Army kicks off the Christmas season

Other events posted on the Facebook page include activities at the Decatur Public Library and Millikin University, a concert at the Lincoln Square Theater, the treelighting ceremony at the Decatur Civic Center and the Downtown Christmas Parade.

“All those events show up on the DecTheTown Facebook page because we’re co-hosting with the other organizations,” Johnson said. “If they go to DecTheTown, they’re going to find a whole variety of holiday related activities.”


Christmas lights are featured on the Decatur Facebook page DecTheTown.

When Santa Claus arrives at the Transfer House, his information will be announced on the page. “You will see all his hours, every date and time,” Johnson said.

Organizers have heard positive responses from the community. “They don’t have to worry about looking at my website and his website,” Hammel said. “They are able to just immediately go in and see what all the updates are.”

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


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