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Last updated: Sat. Aug. 16, 2014 - 12:42 pm EDT

Community to deck Embassy windows

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Back in the 1940s and ’50s, they were a staple of the holiday season.

Parents and children would line up along the old Wolf & Dessauer department store, waiting in anticipation for the unveiling of the windows, many of which would have animated elves, Santas and other Christmas characters coming to life.

The Embassy Theatre brought back these types of displays five years ago, putting them for all to see along Harrison Street downtown.

Now, the theater wants to do so again – only this time it’s seeking groups or individuals who want to do the decorating for this holiday season.

“It’s never been a community project,” said Barb Richards, the marketing director for the Embassy.

The space any group or artist has to work with is small. There’s a back wall to the windows and maybe only a 3-foot area where they can create a scene. But as with any empty void, imagination can fill in the gaps.

Richards remembers as a little girl going down to the old department store to see the windows, which became more elaborate year after year, it seemed.

“For many of us, that was a big part of the holidays,” she said.

Corner House owners David and Kathy James have been doing the windows using original Wolf & Dessauer characters for the past five years, according to a media release from the theater.

A contract with the Embassy has run its course, though, and according to Richards, officials began asking: What would happen if we put it out there to the community?

There is a budget – theater officials do not expect people to spend a lot of money – and there are even some characters the Embassy still possess that can be lent if the designers wish.

The designs will also coincide with the celebration of 30 years of the Festival of Trees.

“The windows will be awarded to individuals or groups that would like to utilize their skills and imagination in bringing these windows to life for everyone to enjoy,” according to the media release.

There are specific guidelines to be followed, all of which can be found by going to the Embassy’s website at and clicking “Festival of Trees.”

“We can’t wait to see what ideas people may have for our windows,” said Kelly Updike, Embassy executive director. “We encourage professional decorators, artists, universities, clubs, groups and anyone with an artistic flair to share their talents with the Embassy and the community.”

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