About 400 attended the Downtown Business Coalition event, almost 300 of whom purchased the $10 Tasting Tour ticket to the Walkabout’s 23 destinations, where their passports were validated, allowing them to enjoy food ranging from spicy noodles from Pho Vietnam to little sundaes from Yogurt Jungle. Dennis Adair won the grand prize of $750 worth of gift certificates from the downtown merchants.
A horse-drawn wagon circulated through downtown, allowing guests to get on and off at the intersections, assisted by student volunteers. As the sun set and the evening chill set in, nearly two dozen people stood patiently in line for a ride, exchanging holiday pleasantries.
“It was a wonderful sight to see,” said Donna Ross, owner of Cre’me dela Gem on First Street and sponsor of the wagon ride.
Victoria Simons, a Liberty High School graduate, gathered a few of her Liberty Choir friends to lead the Christmas caroling walk. Gene Clare, assistant superintendent for administrative services for the Liberty Union High School District, added his splendid voice to the carolers as they strolled about the downtown.
According to Dafne Swisher, owner of Brentwood’s Co. Co. County Wine Company on First Street and head of the Downtown Brentwood Coalition, “Twenty days ago we had an idea to have a little event for Brentwood; little did we know how extraordinary the support would be.”
The crowd ranged from babies in strollers to seniors, some with family history in Brentwood and others visiting for the first time. “This was amazing,” said Sweeney’s Grill & Bar owner Peter Charitou.
The walkers were impressed by the recently completed downtown renovations. One observer remarked that the scene – augmented by newly planted trees glistening with white lights – resembled Disneyland. Local students painted the storefront windows and merchants added the finishing touches. The decorations at Little Miss Everything won the Walker’s Choice award.
“I don’t think I can put into words the way I felt last night standing on the corner of First and Oak,” said Vice Mayor Steve Barr. “In every direction there were people walking in and out of shops, enjoying the downtown.”
Organizer Peggie Schuitemaker felt the event was the perfect way to showcase the new sidewalks, streetscape and other downtown improvements. “This is truly a home run for the Downtown Brentwood Coalition and the city of Brentwood,” she said. “They have made historic downtown Brentwood the place for the community to enjoy civic celebrations with that small-town charm.
The DBC plans to hold seasonal walkabouts throughout the year. A Community Advisory Committee for the DBC will be formed in mid-January.