MOUNT VERNON — Monday’s warm temperatures sent Knox County resident outside to finish hanging Christmas decorations before the temperatures drop today. The festive atmosphere will come just in the nick of time to prepare everyone for Sunday’s Christmas Walk and Parade.
The two events have merged this year and downtown Mount Vernon will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland for all to enjoy. Combining traditional Thanksgiving weekend shopping, the parade and an impressive list of family-friendly activities, downtown Mount Vernon will be overflowing with Christmas cheer.
“We are delighted at the response from the community for this event, both with financial support and volunteering their time,” said Barb Barry, Christmas Walk committee member. “With all that has happened in Mount Vernon and Knox County the past several weeks and months, we hope this event provides an opportunity for young and old alike to share time with their loved ones.”
The Christmas Walk begins at 1 p.m. with shopping at all of downtown’s unique and quaint shops.
Musical entertainment will be available in many of the businesses downtown as far north as The Living Center and the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County.
A Makers’ Market will take place in the former Buckeye Candy Building providing shoppers an opportunity to purchase handcrafted items made by local vendors.
A highlight of the Christmas Walk is the Christmas Carousel. Located on West Vine Street, near South Mulberry Street, the carousel will take guests back in time to a simpler day when calliope music and a ride on a hand-crafted horse was a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
“The Makers’ Market will have 40 vendors with homemade items. Restaurants will be open. We will have the carousel and train for children to ride,” said Patti Frazee, committee member. “This is really going to be a big event with a lot of activities for kids before and after the parade. There will be plenty of shopping opportunities for adults, too.”
There is a lot on tap for the children of the family. From shopping at the Children’s Secret Gift Shop to making Christmas crafts at Creative Foundations, children will have plenty of activities available to get them into the Christmas spirit. A 15-car train will also provide enjoyment as the little ones can enjoy a train ride around Public Square.
The annual Christmas Parade will make its way from Howard Street to South Main Street where it will travel north to Public Square, all beginning at 2:30 p.m. The parade will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable’s community channel. Entries will disband near the intersection of East High and North Gay streets. Those entries needing to return to the staging area of United Precast Inc., can do so by traveling east on High Street and then south on McKenzie Street. Parade entries will be permitted to start set up as early as 10 a.m.
Nearly 100 entries have been received for Sunday’s parade and News Publisher Kay Culbertson couldn’t be happier.
“I’m really excited about this year’s parade. Ron Staats will be back to announce the parade with Corby Wise. Joe and Marcy Rinehart will provide the announcing on TV as the parade will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable,” Culbertson said.
However, what has Culbertson most excited about the parade is the new route.
“We’ve wanted to see this change for a long time,” she said. “Keeping the parade route along South Main Street, in our downtown, will be a great addition to the Christmas Walk and its Christmas spirit.”
The day will culminate at 5 p.m. as individuals will gather on Public Square for the lighting of the live Christmas tree and Caroling for Christ.
“It is really going to be wonderful when the lights come on,” Frazee said. “It is going to be every bit as good as the tree at Rockefeller Center.”
The committee has been working since August to plan for Sunday’s event, as well as to raise funds.
“This really is the start of a new tradition,” said Frazee. “I think people will be very pleased with everything that will be happening downtown.”
Committee member Liz Lutwick is excited for children and families to see Professor Myroni’s Magnificent, marvelous, Musical Menagerie.
“We will have Professor Myroni performing at ThePlace@TheWoodward for two big shows at 1:30 and 4 p.m.,” Lutwick said. “The show will be educational, historical, entertaining and AMAZING.”
Corby Wise, committee member and president of the Heritage Centre Association, said with so much to do on Sunday, he suggests guests of the Christmas Walk and Parade plan to spend the entire afternoon.
“It’s going to be incredible,” Wise said. “We have free rides on the carousel and the train for the kids. There will be lots of shopping. Really, there is no point in going home before the lighting of the tree and Caroling for Christ — it is really going to be a sight to see.”
Additional information on the Christmas Walk will be published in a special section appearing in Wednesday’s edition of the News. A map of downtown and the various activities scheduled for the Christmas Walk, along with the a list of parade entries will be published in Saturday’s edition of the News.