With sizzling hamburger sliders coming off the grill, steaming hot chocolate going into eager hands, and harmonious a cappella voices filling the background, organizers on Thursday (Dec. 3) launched a “Think Harvard Square” campaign to promote local businesses this holiday shopping season.
The effort was created by the Office of Community Affairs and Harvard Real Estate Services in collaboration with the Harvard Square Business Association, and also involved sales and discounts from local merchants and a series of ads promoting local vendors in the Harvard Crimson, all designed to encourage the Harvard community to shop locally.
The “shop local” event was a nighttime medley of sights, sounds, and tastes, from the doo-wop of a dozen tuxedo-clad Harvard Din and Tonics singers, to the free burgers from b.good restaurant, to the distinctive laughs of Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the hosts of NPR’s “Car Talk,” who enjoyed the scene over coffee in front of Crema Café.
Hundreds of people mingled in the square on an unseasonably warm December evening, strolling about in shirtsleeves amid holiday lights and freshly decorated trees. The get-together of the Harvard community, square merchants, and neighbors created a scene as diverse as the area businesses involved.
“With its distinctive and wide range of merchants, Harvard Square is a great place for holiday shopping. These businesses are our neighbors, and I am happy to help support them this holiday season,” said President Drew Faust, who joined the group after visiting several Harvard Square shops, purchasing items that included a winter hat she donated to the Phillips Brooks House Association’s Holiday Gift Drive, which supports Boston and Cambridge aid agencies and shelters.
Members of the Harvard community can help the gift drive by contributing toys, children’s books, and adult winter clothing through Dec. 18, at the Harvard Events and Information Center in the Holyoke Arcade. Participants can enter a raffle for a complete evening in the square that includes a night at the Charles Hotel, tickets to an American Repertory Theater performance, and dinner at a local restaurant.
For information about local businesses, including a list of those offering discounts to members of the Harvard community visit the Web site.