CINCINNATI — The next time you visit Findlay Market, you might spot some familiar faces. Shillito’s Elves have returned to Cincinnati for the first time in years.
“Just gets you excited, like Christmas is coming,” said Maurice Golsby, who walked by the display. “I get a warm feeling about Christmas.”
The elves are a longstanding holiday tradition in Cincinnati. They were made famous at the Downtown Shillito’s department store in the 1950s. The store closed, forcing the elves into hibernation. They have appeared in exhibits every so often ever since.
They’re now on display outside Findlay Market through the end of this year as part of the market’s “Elves on Elder” programming.
The elves bring back memories for Golsby, who has not seen them in 20 years.
“I miss seeing Shillito’s, the elves on Shillito’s,” he said.
“We have been given beautiful stories from people,” said Kelly Lanser, Findlay Market’s Director of Communication. “They are coming to us and sharing their holiday traditions. They're telling us about coming when they were little, coming with their parents, their grandparents.”
The market is also hosting programming alongside the display. Each Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Findlay Market and Cincinnati Bell will host special events and family-friendly activities. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the space will be converted into a pop up music venue and bar.
For those not familiar with the elves, the display offers a chance to create new memories.
“It’s festive and kind of a nice surprise,” said Allen Feibelman, who saw the elves for the first time Saturday.
Golsby hopes the display can bring joy to a new generation.
“I hope they get really excited like I used to,” he said.