The Old Market was bustling before noon Saturday — earlier than usual, according to local shop owners. Santa took Christmas requests while reindeer stood behind him. Two separate pairs of the sisters Elsa and Anna, from Disney’s “Frozen,” greeted kids, one pair in front of Hollywood Candy and the other at Spaghetti Works.

As part of Small Business Saturday, Old Market stores held a range of festive, philanthropic and promotional events for families and community members starting at 11 a.m.

“A lot of people have really gotten into this idea of Small Business Saturday because small businesses are going to offer an experience you don’t get everywhere else,” said Jeff Jorgensen, owner of the Tannenbaum Christmas store.

Jorgensen’s store helped create “Holidays in the Old Market” ornaments that were given away in front of Spaghetti Works with a donation to the Sienna-Francis House.

Jeff Jorgensen, owner of the Tannenbaum Christmas shop

Jeff Jorgensen, owner of the Tannenbaum Christmas shop, holds a “Holidays in the Old Market” ornament his store helped create. 300 of the ornaments were given away with a suggested donation to the Sienna Francis House at the Old Market’s Small Business Saturday event.

According to Jorgensen, ornament shopping has become a holiday must for some families visiting Tannenbaum. The shop owner has observed parents and grandparents letting kids choose ornaments to call their own and hang on the tree each year.

“Of course it’s good for business,” Jorgensen said. “But what excites me about it more is what a great family tradition it is.”

Larry Richling, owner of Hollywood Candy and one of the organizers behind this year’s Small Business Saturday events, hopes to turn the festivities into a marketwide tradition in coming years.

Richling stepped up when he learned that Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival would be in the Old Market rather than the Gene Leahy Mall. If the nights would be filled with lights, he thought, what would bring festivity to the daytime?

Organizers put in a couple of months of planning and gathered support from other Old Market shops.

On Saturday, families milled about outside on a cordoned-off block of 12th Street and inside the candy store. Ollie the Trolley provided transportation throughout the area.

For 4-year-old Skylar Reynolds, the biggest “Frozen” fan in the world, according to her parents, the event was an exciting chance to get free candy and meet her hero, Elsa. She and her parents also won free tickets to the series’ sequel from the event’s radio sponsor, KGOR.

Skylar Reynolds, 4

Skylar Reynolds, 4, smiles after meeting her favorite movie characters, Anna and Elsa from Frozen, at the Small Business Saturday event in the Old Market. Reynolds and her parents received free movie tickets and candy while visiting the Holiday on Twelfth Street event at 12th and Jackson Streets.

A couple of blocks north, the Passageway Gallery was trying out its first Small Business Saturday promotion: a free hot cocoa bar and a gift certificate raffle with each purchase.

Danielle Easdale, a paper artist with the gallery co-op, said the event definitely brought in more traffic than usual for a Saturday morning. Co-worker and photographer Ashley Stevens said the day provided a great opportunity for her and other local artists to meet and talk with their clients.

For the two artists, Small Business Saturday was an extension of Omaha’s yearlong support for local businesses and artists.

“When you’re buying off of a small business there’s everyday people like Ashley and myself,” Easdale said. “We’re doing little happy dances when someone buys something from us.”

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