CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The spooky season has come and gone, but Conway, the Grand Strand’s self-proclaimed Halloween city, is continuing to keep things festive by turning its attention to Christmas and this weekend’s annual Holiday Open House.

The event started 30 years ago with a small group of merchants who wanted to spread holiday cheer, and through the years it has become much more.

Angie Johnson, a co-owner of Curtains-N’Things, said she loves this time of year so much that she changes her business hours for the event.

“I open one Sunday a year and that’s for the Holiday Open House,” Johnson said.

Those who live in Conway claim it as the start of the holiday season.

“Here in downtown Conway on the 31st of October, it’s Halloween, and you wake up Nov. 1, and it’s magic,” said Hillary Howard, executive director of Conway Downtown Alive. “It’s Christmastime in downtown Conway.”

And come this weekend, many people will be making their way downtown to kick off their holiday shopping.

“The locals look forward to it, and now the people moving in are starting to look forward to it,” Johnson said. “It’s a wonderful day. Everybody gets into the celebration, and it’s almost like a Hallmark Christmas. It’s just so much fun.”

Howard said about 30 businesses take part in the cheerful event, which is really all about supporting local businesses and residents.

“Five years ago, we changed our focus in downtown Conway, and we turned away from the tourist market to pleasing our residents, to offering activities and programming that serves the residents of Conway,” Howard said. “Since we made that switch, things have just taken off immensely. The majority of folks that come to our open house do live in the greater Grand Strand area, and what we found is when you come to downtown Conway once, you’ve got to come back.” 

And many do return, especially during the holidays. Johnson said Christmas is their best season for sales and that the open house is one of their best days of the year.   

The Holiday Open House will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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Adriana Cotero is News13’s weekend evening anchor and a morning reporter. She joined the team in July 2023 after working in the island of Guam. Adriana is from Saline, Michigan, and graduated from Central Michigan University. Follow Adriana on Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram and read more of her work here