PENDLETON — Regardless of the weather forecast Saturday, organizers of the annual Christmas in Pendleton festival are promising snow-covered streets and a white-out sky of flying snowballs.

A village of igloos will also make its home on State Street in Pendleton as the holiday parade inches past the town’s decorated shops.

The event, sponsored by the Pendleton Business Association, will once again turn downtown Pendleton into a classic Christmas scene.

Jessica Greene owns Twigs gift shop and is part-owner of Daisy J’s gift shop in Pendleton. For Greene, the annual event calls up images of a certain piece of classic American literature.

“We have a lot of return customers that come to town just because the ambiance that’s presented here is like a scene out of a Dickens novel,” she said.

Bonny Clark, organizer of the event, said this year’s festival will be highlighted by a bigger and better Christmas display than ever seen before in Pendleton.

Last year, the town held the first snowball fight of the year just before the parade marched down State Street. Three hundred Styrofoam snowballs filled the Pendleton sky, creating a unique sight, according to Greene. “When they start tossing the snowballs, it’s just a flurry. It’s such a neat sight. They really do look like snowballs when they’re being thrown.”

This year, that number has been multiplied and Clark promises 3,000 Styrofoam snowballs for area children to toss.

In addition to the extra snowballs, the festival has added an igloo village made completely of recycled milk jugs. Clark said the business association has been collecting milk jugs for 10 weeks and is still looking for teams to help build the structures.

Before the festival kicks off in the afternoon, festival organizers head to State Street and spend the early morning hours lining the road with ground Styrofoam, creating the image of freshly fallen snow. “Our snow actually looks like snow,” Greene said.

The Pendleton Business Association has also created a tradition of producing an original ornament each year. Greene said the ornaments have traditionally featured historic Pendleton structures like the library, post office, high school and lighthouse. Residents will have to attend this year’s festival to find out what famous Pendleton building is featured on the 2008 ornament.

According to Greene, the annual event is not only a treat for Pendleton residents looking for the Christmas spirit, but a chance for Pendleton business owners to wow outsiders who visit the town only for the festival.

Each shop pulls out its biggest storewide sales to lure visitors and many offer refreshments. Greene is offering hot apple cider and cookies at her gift shops.

Eve Marie, owner of Eve’s Home and Garden Decor on State Street, is hoping to bring new customers into her shop during the festival by offering a chance for kids to make their very own concrete steppingstones. The stones, which cost $10, will be wet and ready for the creative accents of those looking to make their own mark on the festival.

Marie said the event offers a chance for business owners to draw the attention of those who may not be familiar with downtown Pendleton and its businesses. She is planning to offer 20 percent off storewide during the festival and is readying her shop with Christmas decor and home accents.

She hopes the festival will revitalize businesses affected by the growing economic crisis.

The shop, Marie said, was seeing a steady stream of customers until September when “it just kind of fell off.”

If history is any indication, Greene believes the festival will once again give downtown Pendleton a proper Christmas shopping season start. “Christmas in Pendleton is typically my biggest one-day sales of the year. It’s a fun day.”

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