Looking for something fun to do Friday? Downtown Madison will be glowing with the sights and sounds of the holidays as store owners host a Christmas in Madison open house. Most stores will stay open until 9 p.m. in an effort to bring holiday shoppers downtown. Many restaurants also will remain open.

Shoppers also will notice several new stores on Main Street that have opened recently.

There will be an opportunity to register for a drawing to win a $500 shopping spree.

For some folks, the event will kick off the holiday shopping season. Others will window shop, preferring to wait until the traditional start of the shopping season the day after Thanksgiving.

The open house was started to better serve shoppers with extended hours. Retailers also benefited since this is the time of year many merchants hope will boost their bottom lines.

It is important to our local economy that we do as much spending as possible with our hometown merchants. Dollars spent at home are recycled into wages for workers, tips for servers in restaurants and restocking store shelves.

And, don't forget the many fine stores on the hilltop, in Vevay, Hanover, Carrollton, Milton, Bedford and other Courierarea communities.

Show your support Friday by visiting the shops. You'll find a nice variety of items ... many of them locally produced. And be sure to let the business owners know that you support them.