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Cleveland: Casino to recreate Higbee's holiday

7:51 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The Horseshoe Casino will draw on Higbee's history when it decorates for the holidays.          

"We feel that what we're going to put together, in combination with all the other great offerings downtown, will be very compelling," said Marcus Glover, general manager of the casino, at a Thursday news conference.

The Horseshoe will recreate some of the historic holiday decorations which generations of Greater Clevelanders came downtown to Higbee's to see.

Among them are the garland arches across what is now the first-floor gaming area.

"Come on down and see what's going on because we feel it's going to be very exciting," Glover added, emphasizing the idea was not necessarily to get more people into the casino, but just downtown for the holidays.

The original Higbee's display windows will be restored with Christmas fare, and several trees recovered from storage in what was the old department store have been restored and will be on display.

"We are adding 9,000 new lights to one of them," says Cynthia Klein, of Room-2-Room, the Akron design firm leading the creative process.

More holiday visitors downtown is good for all of Cleveland, says Steve Siedlecki, who operates the house on West 11th Street made famous in the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story."

"I really believe that  Cleveland can get back what it once had," Siedlecki told WKYC.  "I know in a lot of areas we have, and with just a little more work, yeah, I think it can be great again, and we're here to be part of it."

"We see a lot of it with the guests that come here and what's going on downtown it overflows to people coming here," he added, as two trolleys packed with tourists rolled past the Christmas Story House. 

"Everything going on downtown, from the casino and everything else being built, we've seen the increase."

David and Ann Markey, who traveled from Dayton to tour the house, said even they knew about Higbee's through the movie.  They were pleased some of the old decorations would be revived.

"I think it's great. It is.  It's a great idea," they chimed in together. "It'll bring a lot of people here.  I think that's what everybody loves the movie, the opening at Higbees. It gives them a feeling for Cleveland the way it really is, a great town." 

Still photos courtesy the Cleveland Memory Project

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