by Terry Rogers
This year’s Holiday Stroll, sponsored by Downtown Milford, Inc., is planned for Friday, December 6th from 5 to 8 PM. In celebration of her 20th year in business, Sandra Gulledge, CPA, PA, is turning her office on North Walnut Street into “Tax Wizards.” The office will include many activities related to the Harry Potter novels written by J.K. Rowling.
“This is our eighth year supporting the holiday stroll and each year, our activities get more and more elaborate,” Gulledge said. “Our first year we did chicken chili and we followed that up with a hot sauce tasting. For two years, we had photos with the Grinch and turned the office into Whoville. Last year, my staff and I decorated gingerbread houses. We had 600 people vote on the houses over three hours and the winner received a day off.”
Gulledge, who owns Tax Chicks in downtown Milford and is also the treasurer for DMI, found a Harry Potter-themed train which led her to run with the idea of creating a “Wizarding World.” Gulledge’s office includes a train display that she changes with the season and it is always a popular attraction for children as well as adults during the Holiday Stroll.
“After I found the train, I knew we wanted to base our activities this year around that,” Gulledge said. “I started talking about it and next thing I knew eight of my own family members were signed up to help. Second Street Players has volunteered people to dress in costume. We plan to have Bellatrix Lestrange and Professor McGonagall who will provide instruction. We will have Sorting Hat ceremonies and will hand out “fortunes,” so people can see what their tax fortune looks like.”
Visitors will then travel through Hagrid’s forest which will include a surprise visitor. They then travel through Alexander’s Wands where the first 500 visitors will receive a glow-in-the-dark wand. Gulledge plans to have Quidditch outside behind the store and people can get their photo taken riding a Quidditch broom. There will also be a 3-D puzzle of Harry’s world.
“We are encouraging people to come dressed in their best wizard costume,” Gulledge said. “Those who come in costume will receive a special “Wizard in Training” pin. We have sent invitations to all our regular clients and we hope that some of them will participate in this fun event. We are hoping to bring a new demographic into Milford, something we encourage all year. During tax time, we give our clients maps of the town so they can see what Milford has to offer.” In addition to the wands and pins, visitors can enter into a drawing to win one of five Wizard Wand replicas.
There is no charge for any of the Harry Potter-themed activities during the Holiday Stroll and Gulledge hopes to see even more than 600 people traveling through her office that evening.
“Each year, what we do for this event has grown exponentially,” Gulledge said. “I’ve come a long way from buying a few trays of chicken and some hot sauce. I am very excited to see all the costumes and looks on people’s faces when they see how we have transformed the office.”