Hometown for the holidays: Communities plan Christmas celebrations


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GREENFIELD — With the holiday season approaching, communities around Hancock County are preparing for their own celebrations of Christmas cheer. Whatever corner of the county you call home, there’s a tree lighting, Christmas parade or holiday performance to light up your December starting this weekend.


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Christmas festivities have a different name in Cumberland; the town celebrates with an event called Weihnachtsmarkt, meaning “Christmas market” in German. The festival celebrates the holiday season as well as Cumberland’s historical German heritage. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

Cumberland closes U.S. 40 from Muessing Road in the center of Cumberland to Carroll Road for the event in its downtown district. The festival will offer entertainment including the Flying Toasters band, more than 30 local vendors and a “kids’ zone” with activities including a scavenger hunt.

Major events will include a light parade highlighting the arrival of Santa Claus beginning at 5:45 p.m. and culminating in a Christmas tree lighting.

Renee Garard, the town’s special projects manager, said the event strives to incorporate more German market items and foods every year.

“It’s a celebration of our German heritage,” Garard said.


The Fortville community will kick off the holiday season with its Winterfest event in the downtown district, featuring a wide variety of Christmas-themed entertainment from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

A Christmas parade will start at 1 p.m. on Main Street, followed by opportunities for children in attendance to meet Santa Claus at Studio 309. Activities will include carriage rides, a zipline, a bounce house, selfie stations and an ice rink. Food trucks and crafting vendors will also be present.

For a chance to win a prize, visitors can wear their ugliest Christmas sweater and come to the main entertainment stage on Pearl Street at 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Fortville Action Inc. A map of where to find activities in downtown Fortville is available on the organization’s Facebook page.

“We hope everybody comes out,” Fortville Action Inc. board member Linda Calhoun said.


Greenfield’s Christmas parade and tree lighting, organized by the Riley Festival Association, will take place Saturday, Dec. 7. The parade begins at 5:45 p.m. on Riley Avenue and proceeds through downtown, ending on American Legion Place. The theme for this year’s parade is “A Hometown Christmas.” The Greenfield Community Choir will perform before the tree lighting, where a local elementary school student will help Mayor Chuck Fewell light the display. Afterward, Santa Claus will greet visitors at the Hancock County Courthouse plaza.

Several other Christmas events are planned in the Greenfield area as well. Today (Wednesday, Dec. 4) the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts will play host to “Holiday Flix at the Ricks” with a screening of “The Polar Express.” The event, sponsored by Greenfield Main Street, begins at 3 p.m.

The Ricks Centre is also having two events on Saturday, Dec. 7. Being at 4 p.m., the Brandywine Wind Band will perform a concert featuring Anita Workman, Amy Studabaker and Noelle Russell as the Brandywine Vocal Trio Singers. The performance is sponsored by Greenfield Sertoma. Later that night, “Christmas at the Ricks” is a holiday variety show benefiting the venue. Organized by the Friends of the Theater organization, the show kicks off at 7 p.m.

Greenfield-Central High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club will play host to its sixth annual holiday bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 7. Taking place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the high school’s cafeteria, the bazaar will feature a variety of vendors including local crafters and independent businesses.


The town will have its annual Christmas tree lighting today (Wednesday, Dec. 4) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at town hall, 6280 W. County Road 800N. Town manager Tonya Galbraith said the event will feature choral performances by local students as well as an adult folk group.

The local tree lighting ceremony began seven years ago, Galbraith said, when the town received a generous, anonymous donation that is expected to fund the event for many years to come.

The event will also include craft tables where children can make ornaments and an opportunity to meet Santa. The switch to light the tree is thrown by a child chosen from McCordsville Elementary School; this year’s chosen “elf” is Zachary Dowden.

“We like getting the area kids involved,” Galbraith said. “This is the time of year where they get to do a lot of different performances.”

Also in McCordsville, the McCordsville United Methodist Church will have its annual holiday bazaar Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will include over 30 booths offering jewelry, clothing, holiday decor and other items for sale by local vendors. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day.


Shirley’s historic Jane Ross Reeves Octagon House will celebrate the holiday season with its annual Christmas Tree Walk during the weekends of Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 13-14. Families, nonprofits and businesses from around Hancock County have sponsored and decorated 25 trees in styles ranging from Victorian to modern.

Admission to the event is free, but patrons can purchase a dinner of chicken and noodles during the first weekend and soup and sandwiches during the second. Visitors can also vote on their favorite tree.

Octagon House board member Virginia Harrell said the event is an important fundraiser that helps the historic building pay its bills during the winter months. Harrell said she hopes visitors from around the county will take the opportunity to visit.

“This house is the anchor of our community right now,” she said.

New Palestine

New Palestine’s Christmas Walk will take place Friday, Dec. 6 beginning at 6 p.m. Participants will start at the New Palestine Town Hall, where they can pick up a “passport” for the event. Businesses in downtown New Palestine will give out stamps, with carolers and holiday treats along the route. Participants who collect a stamp from each business will be entered to win a grand prize, with categories for adults and children.

Santa Claus will be available for photos during the event at the New Palestine Lions Club, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

At New Palestine High School, the Hancock County Children’s Choir will perform a holiday program at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14. Titled “A Different Kind of Christmas,” the performance will include songs and stories meant to highlight those who struggle during the holidays and inspire audience members to share Christmas joy.

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