MARTINEZ — Downtown Martinez held its tree lighting before dozens of families on Small Business Saturday.
East Bay resident Cecilia Mansilla spent the day in town with her family celebrating a birthday and stuck around for the festivities.
"This is so fun, it's great to see so many families, so many children, so many people coming together to enjoy the holiday spirit."
The grinch was a big hit on this night and so was the artificial snow, with many small businesses still open in the evening.
"We got some plants, and some little ornaments for the house," said Mansilla. "I thought it was a great experience to have Small Business Saturday and the Christmas lighting, so you can bring people have them stay and have them enjoy their time."
Her son Lucas put on his newly purchased hat right away.
Martinez resident Lauren Hannis said she took advantage of the small business specials.
"Citrus Salon was having a great little gathering and a lot of the shops down the street were having a little wine, and some gifts and it was fun," said Hannis.
Busywork Craft Supply on Main Street said it welcomed the crowds, especially given the tough economic year.
"We had storms until May this year so that kind of killed all foot traffic. I've been seeing a lot more cash sales, people are saving their money and spending cash, but this year it's just been a lot less people," said owner Bernadette Fernandes.
Fernandes said sales were decent this Saturday, but she had more customers this time last year.
Resident Michael DeWitt was pleased by the turnout at the plaza.
"When I moved to Martinez 5 years ago, I didn't realize how they have such festivities downtown in the 5-by-5 block core," he said. "It reminds me of my prior days in the city going to Union Square festivities."
"Just being able to see people smiling and kids playing and enjoying the time is just a real blessing that we all have," added Mansilla.
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