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Loud speakers are a new addition to downtown this holiday season.

No, the holiday music you're hearing in downtown Auburn is not in your head.

For the first time, the city's Business Improvement District has set up speakers along Genesee Street to play music celebrating the holiday season. The brainchild of BID Executive Director Stephanie DeVito, the music consists of classic Christmas songs along with holiday cuts by Kenny G, the Beach Boys, Mannheim Steamroller and more. 

The music comes from five CDs on shuffle in the BID office, and plays through nine speakers spanning the office to Mesa Grande Taqueria on the south side of Genesee Street. DeVito said the music is timed to play from about 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and began the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It'll continue through Dec. 26.

DeVito hopes the music adds some holiday cheer to shopping and restaurant-going in downtown Auburn this season.

"It's a nice little touch to have in the heart of downtown," she said. "Something positive, joyful and happy during the holiday season."

Auburnian Lawrence Simmons, a longtime bell-ringer for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign, agreed. Simmons was ringing the bell in front of Key Bank when he first heard the holiday music. Like many, he was confused at first, but then he traced the wires to the speakers and realized where the Christmas songs were coming from.

"I think it's fantastic. It makes it a little more festive," Simmons said. "It'd be nice if it also helped bring people back to Genesee Street."

Simmons said he's spoken with many people who were happy to hear the holiday music, and DeVito also said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. She said the BID could bring out the speakers — which it's been using for the Founders Day classic car show — during other seasons, too.

If nothing else, the speakers will almost surely return next holiday season, DeVito said.

"A lot of people are very happy about it," she said. "It's a very positive impact on downtown."

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


Features editor for The Citizen.