The first annual Holiday Stroll of Lower Mills - held last Thursday night, Nov.13 - drew more than 300 persons into the village business district to meet with neighbors and merchants. With mild temperatures and mixed showers, the event - hosted by the Lower Mills Merchants Association and the Dorchester Lower Mills Civic Association - featured business people in the village staying open late, offering open houses and a variety of appetizers and beverages to current and potential customers. Although little business was done, an air of merriment prevailed through the night, with one stroller commenting, "The most common words I have heard tonight is, 'I have been meaning to stop in and see what you have in this business, and this is my first visit.'"
Meetinghouse Hill Bank resident Tony Paciulli, who serves as president of the merchants group, gave an enthusiastic summary of the event: "What a great night in our community! I want to thank all of the participants for making this first annual "Holiday Stroll" such a success! The Committee did a great job: Claire Hughes, Lynda Watson, and David Kelman. The wonderful merchants for the generous donations, special offerings and time given to the Community. The support of the Civic Association in combining our efforts. The number of Milton merchants joining in was fantastic. The tremendous support of the residents was overwhelming, we had participation ranging from young families to senior citizens. The positive feedback and energy was wonderful.
Civic group leader Mike Skillin reiterated Paciulli's comments, calling the stroll "a tremendous success."
Committee member Claire Hughes said, "As a member of the Lower Mills Civic Association, it's been great to work in concert with the Merchants Association help make the neighborhood a vibrant place to live, work and shop. I hope this is just the first of many collaborations in making Lower Mills a destination. People seemed genuinely excited about going out to explore all the great little treasures we have and they were quite excited about the 'takeaways' ....coupons and incentives, and a big shout out to Shaw's, who donated over 300 "eco shopping" bags - we were out of them by 7:30 - so there's one indication of how many participants we had.
Richard O'Mara of Cedar Grove Gardens, added he was, "Speechless (and that's unusual for me, I guess.) Great job and thoughts about closing the Avenue for a block and street festival, maybe in conjunction with Dorchester Park Association next September when we do our Gala event finishing up with the Big Tent we'll already have up in the Park. Kind of like they use to have on Charles Street or in the North End! Why stop!"