Shirley provides holiday escape

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SHIRLEY — Go rogue and leave the holiday mall mauling, madness and mayhem behind this weekend, take a deep breath and walk through a scene from Norman Rockwell’s Christmas this Saturday at the inaugural Shirley Christmas Walk.

Bolstered by the success of this summer’s Strawberry Festival, which was revived after a 15-year absence, the Shirley Visionary Group and civic leaders organized this year’s Christmas festival to build on that momentum.

“The early response from our businesses has been very positive,” said Whitney Tompkins, one of the festival’s organizers. “We had a really successful Strawberry Festival, and I think that has helped build the confidence.”

The festival runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday with local businesses offering free hot drinks and snacks to help visitors shake off the chill, along with other promotions.

The Shirley Visionary Group, a local organization formed to preserve Shirley’s legacy and promote the town’s future, wanted an event that would put Shirley’s business in the spotlight at a time many of the stores might not ordinarily be open.

Drawing a weekend crowd will highlight what Shirley has to offer to a larger audience, Tompkins said.

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