Downtown district deserves spirited support year-round.

The holiday season got off to a spirited start Saturday in Garden City.

The annual Lighting of Stevens Park helped signal the beginning of the festive season, and delivered a timely reminder of the choices local consumers have as they start working on their shopping lists.

With elegant lights streaming from trees in Stevens Park and down Main Street, the historic downtown district once again is beckoning visitors with its spectacular evening show.

Even in daylight, the greenery and other decorations help proclaim the arrival of a special time of year, and snowfall over the weekend added to the seasonal scene.

Activity downtown will pick up this week with the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and arrival of "Black Friday," the day many retailers go into the black with a profit.

Whether for entertainment, shopping or dining, downtown Garden City should be a destination year-round and convenience is but one reason.

This time of year in particular, downtown shoppers are treated to shorter lines and plenty of parking. The same can be said for local, independent retailers elsewhere that do their best to ease the shopping process.

Much talk of late has focused on the benefit of the new Schulman Crossing retail development in Garden City. It's an exciting project that promises to improve the community's standing as a regional shopping destination.

As they work to attract new businesses, representatives of Garden City Downtown Vision, the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce and Finney County Economic Development Corp., also understand the need to promote those already here.

They know when consumers see the community as a destination, local merchants who provide friendly, personal service stand a better chance of staying in business. Plus, more local sales tax dollars means we all may save on future property tax bills.

The great offerings downtown the heart of the city always demand attention. Anyone out and about in the coming days and weeks should make a point of stopping by as many of their hometown shops and eateries as possible.

And, in doing so, bring holiday cheer to many throughout the community.