BLOOMBSBURG -- Some communities are helping to spread holiday cheer by offering free parking to shoppers and the old tradition is taking on a new look in Columbia County.
It's sure looking a lot like Christmas. Wreaths are hung, shoppers are bustling, and there is plenty of free parking in downtown Bloomsburg.
It’s a Christmas gift drivers can enjoy in Columbia County from Black Friday through the end of December.
"It should be that way, I think. Well, you shouldn’t have to pay for parking during the Christmas holiday season. You want to try to promote your town, not hamper it,” said Ted Komoroski of Bloomsburg.
A few miles down Route 11 in Danville, Maryann Faust of Paxinos stopped for lunch with friends and also got to park for free along Mill Street.
"I think it brings business to the area with the free parking and it’s just nice, it’s just holiday cheer, the music’s playing down here as well. It puts you in a good holiday mood."
Free spaces to park have been a holiday tradition in these communities for as long as most shop owners can remember. And it’s one that the Dutch Wheelman bicycle shop owners say brings in a little more hustle and bustle to downtown Bloomsburg this time of year.
"Definitely, it brings in more people because they expect to find open spots even though sometimes they are not,” said Roony Spuesens.
Drivers in downtown Bloomsburg may notice something new about the red bags that symbolize an old holiday tradition.
"This year we invested the money in fabric meter bags which I actually sewed by hand,” said Adrienne Mael.
Mael, Bloomsburg’s downtown business manager, says she wanted to get rid of the old plastic bags and created the new ones with the help of some volunteers and a lot of hours sewing.
Many are taking notice.
"I think they look a lot nicer. They’re definitely more durable and hold up."
Bagging the meters will save drivers thousands of dollars in parking in Bloomsburg and in Danville through the holiday season.