You're lying by the pool and watching as sweat slowly fills your belly button. It's 95 degrees in the shade and the last thing on your mind is Christmas. But not so much for the elves at the City Creek Macy's store. They're busy gathering entries for this holiday season's storefront window-design competition.
Many folks remember the old ZCMI store across from Temple Square. For those who don't, here's some background information: It was founded in 1868 by Brigham Young himself as Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution. The proud bunch of employees hung a sign inside with its slogan, "America's First Department Store." Young wanted to compete with non-Mormon merchants and he brought together retailers of the brotherhood under one roof. Tourists getting off trains downtown found they could get clothes and boots, beauty products and hats at one location. Locals were able to buy lumber, nails, furniture and just about anything a settler could want for in this high desert Promised Land. ZCMI was sold in 1999 to May Department Stores (Macy's, Inc.). The flagship store was torn down, but the iron pillars, rails and décor on the outside were meticulously restored and re-installed as a historic facade on the City Creek shopping center for it's opening in March 2012.
A highlight of the Salt Lake City holiday season was to see the display windows on Main Street with their elaborate candy decorations before visiting Temple Square to view the lighting displays. When Macy's opened in City Creek, they brought back the idea of "candy windows." I was one of the original artists chosen to create a window display for them. I took a 9-foot styrofoam ball they gave me and glued on hundreds of pounds of candy to create a nutcracker and mouse head. The ball rotated in the window along with five others until just after New Year's Day. Citizens loved that the company brought back the old tradition.
You can apply to make a candy ball for Macy's this year by submitting your artistic rendering by August 1. Six artists will be chosen to create the oversized holiday ornament made entirely out of candy. You can do it with family or friends, your school or business—it's a ton of fun. The theme this year is dedicated to Sinclair Oil's 100th anniversary, so we can probably expect some dinosaurs in Santa hats. If you're interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected artists will decorate their candy balls November 2-17, and shoppers can view the colorful results through January 1 in the old ZCMI windows on Main.