File/J. GEIL 2009

The Downtown Oak Park business association is urging residents to shop local, as the village’s main business district gears up for the final weekend of the holiday shopping season.

Saturday is the organization’s third annual “Home for the Holidays” event, which runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shoppers will get the chance to ride a sleigh, meet Santa and watch a free movie at the Lake Theatre.

While the day after Thanksgiving is usually a high-return day for big-box retailers, small businesses often see the biggest spike in holiday sales just before Christmas, said Pat Zubak, executive director of Downtown Oak Park.

“I think it gets down to people looking for unique or one-of-a-kind items they’re not finding at the malls,” she said, speculating on why small stores see the last-minute uptick.

Shoppers can get out of the cold to see a free showing of the 1989 movie Prancer, about a farm girl and her encounter with an injured reindeer, at 10 a.m. at the Lake Theatre. Free coffee and hot cocoa from Caribou Coffee and Trader Joe’s will be offered at the parking lot on the east side of Marion, just south of Lake, starting at 11 a.m.

Overall, Zubak said she’s heard positive reports from retailers around Downtown Oak Park this holiday shopping season.

For more information on Home for the Holidays, go to

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