City preparing for Christmas festivities with parade, Santa

Volunteers are working overtime to put the final touches on this year’s Christmas in the City celebration scheduled for Saturday in North Vernon.

Activities will include a parade through downtown North Vernon, the lighting of the official Christmas tree in Stellar Plaza, free pictures with Santa, a live presentation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and food booths. Activities run from 2 to 6 p.m.

“This will be a perfect time for the whole community to come together to greet the holiday season with open arms,” North Vernon Mayor Mike Ochs said.

Walgreens again will sponsor a special visit from Santa. This year, Santa will be in Stellar Park for visits with children and to pose for photos from 2 until 4 p.m. Both children and families are invited to have their picture taken with Santa. The free photos taken on Saturday will be available to pick-up at Walgreens on Sunday.

“Please remember that Santa’s line gets long so get there in plenty of time,” event organizer Sue Fenton said.

North Vernon’s very own Grinch and Max will entertain the crowds in Stellar Park with free special performances of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 2 and 3:30 p.m.

At 5 p.m., Police Chief James Webster will start the Christmas parade. The floats, bands and marchers in the parade will line-up near the post office along O & M Streets and the intersections of Third, Second and First streets. The parade will follow the usual route and begin at Jennings Street, then down Walnut to Hoosier to Fourth Street and then back to O & M Street. Local Boy Scout Troops will be available along the parade route to assist with questions or directions.

“The parade has grown every year for the last five years so let’s keep that going,” Fenton said, adding that there is still time to register to be in the parade.

Ochs will light the Community Christmas Tree in a brief ceremony that will include music. The ceremony will begin at 5:45 p.m. in Stellar Park.

Food booths will be set up along Madison Avenue near the Park Theatre Civic Theatre. Electricity will be available for those who want food booths, and they will not be charged a booth fee.

“This is the perfect way to raise money for your nonprofit group, as you get to take home all the profits,” Fenton said, adding that some booth space is still available.

In keeping with the annual celebration of Small Business Saturday and to add to the festive mood, Karen Chillman’s Jennings County High School School art class have been working to decorate the store windows of the downtown businesses.

“It takes a whole community to pull something like this off. A lot of volunteers have been working very hard to make this nice and we hope the community comes to the event and just has fun to get the holidays started,” Fenton said.

For more information or to register for the parade or a food booth, call Fenton at 767-3131 or Rosie at the mayor’s office at 812-346-3789.