This story has been updated to correct the date and time of the open house at the Riley Boyhood Home and Museum.
GREENFIELD — Hancock County is certainly on Santa’s nice list this year with holiday festivities on the horizon.
With many events on hiatus in 2020, lights are shining bright this year as communities are ready to celebrate the season. Here’s a look at local family events sure to make your days merry and bright.
-Head to the Riley Home on Friday, Dec. 10, for an open house that includes light refreshments and readings of poems and stories. The event is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m.
-Night in Bethlehem on Saturday, Dec. 4 will feature a stroll through a re-created town and a live Nativity scene. On your guided tour, you’ll encounter a census, an interactive marketplace, King Herod on a rampage, and angels proclaiming the good news to the shepherds. The event, which concludes with hot chocolate, is from 10 a.m. to 7p.m. Dec. 4 at Brandywine Community Church, 1551 E. New Road, Greenfield. Tours run every 15 minutes and last about an hour; reserve your time preference with free tickets at brandywinechurch.org/nib.
-“Christmas Lights Up Greenfield” is the theme of the parade and downtown window decorating contest hosted by the Riley Festival committee. The parade, which starts at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, will begin on Depot Street and conclude at American Legion Place south of the courthouse annex, with a lighting of the Christmas tree. All parade entries must have a minimum of 500 lights, and Santa rolls in on a firetruck.
-Downtown Greenfield will remain busy throughout the season. As lights adorn the courthouse plaza, kids can mail a letter to Santa and get a response in their own mailbox. Flicks at the Ricks will feature “White Christmas” Dec. 4 and 5 at the historic H.J. Ricks Theater; “Prancer” will play Dec. 18 and 19. A Ho Ho Ho Holiday Breakfast with Santa is set for 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dec. 11, followed by a Hometown Holiday Market in downtown Greenfield from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Downtown businesses are also hosting holiday open houses throughout the season. For details and tickets (when applicable), visit greenfieldmainstreet.org/holiday.
-Visit the Twenty North Gallery in downtown Greenfield Dec. 4 through Jan 1 for the Christmas Tree Festival. Around a dozen trees will be decorated by businesses or nonprofit organizations; people may vote for their favorite tree by bringing an unwrapped gift for each tree’s favorite charity. The exhibit is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; extended hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 11. The gallery will also feature a Santa’s Workshop from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4, with painting and decorating Christmas birdhouses, pinecone bird treats and Christmas ornaments. A Second Friday Artist Reception for Gale Sturm and a Christmas Party will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 10. Visit facebook.com/HancockCountyArtsCouncil for details and updates.
-A holiday bazaar will feature local boutiques, home crafters, baked goods and more from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 at Greenfield-Central high School. Sponsored by Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and the G-CS Theater Department, the event will feature visits with Santa from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.See the public Facebook event fo details by searching “2021 Holiday Bazaar at Greenfield Central HS.”
– “Joy in Every Journey” will be celebrated by the Hancock County Children’s Choir in their 11th annual Christmas concert Saturday, Dec. 4. Show times are 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Park Chapel Christian Church, 1176 E. McKenzie Road, Greenfield. Visit hancockcountychildrenschoir.org for tickets and more details.
-Pet a live reindeer and greet “elf” Jingle John at the Hancock County Public Library. The outdoors events take place Dec. 7 in Greenfield and Dec. 15 in New Palestine. Visit hcplibrary.org and click on the Events tab to sign up for a time slot. The website also features details for several other free holiday family events.
-Courses at Greenfield Parks Department’s Art Studio will feature events for kids, teens and adults. From paint pouring to clay ornaments, classes will motivate students to be creative and create gifts for the holidays. The studio will host a “Sip and Paint Night: Treat Yo’ Elf” Dec. 3, where adult participants design two wine glasses and enjoy sweet snacks and a drink at Lizabeth Ann’s Kitchen, 244 W. Main St. For dates and times and to register, visit parks.greenfieldin.org.
-Get your pet’s photo taken with Santa and help raise money for charity from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19 at the Shelter House in Riley Park. The $15 event includes a digital image and cardboard frame; funds help benefit Partners for Animal Welfare Society (P.A.W.S.)
-Hometown Winterfest and Lighting in New Palestine will be held Dec. 11 along Depot and Main streets and in town hall. See reindeer, a light parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus, make ornaments and more. Festivities begin at 3 p.m.; visit facebook.com/NewPalestineMainStreet for details.
-Wear pajamas and bring pillows and blankets to a family movie night featuring “The Polar Express” Dec. 10. The event is at 6 p.m. at the New Palestine Lions Club, 5242 W. US 52. The free movie, which will include popcorn and hot chocolate, is sponsored by the Lions Club, New Palestine Main Street and New Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce.
-A Grinch movie party will feature activities and treats for the whole family Dec. 14 at the Sugar Creek branch of the Hancock County Public Library. For details and to register, click on the events tab at hcplibrary.org.
-Homes in New Palestine will be lit up for the Third Annual Bob Kingry Light the Night Contest. The contest is presented by New Palestine Main Street and the New Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce, and those participating must register by Dec. 10 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Judging will take place Dec. 18.
McCordsville / Fortville / Cumberland
-McCordsville’s Christmas Tree Lighting will happen from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1 at Town Hall, 6280 W. 800N., McCordsville. The McCordsville Elementary School Choir and Mt. Vernon Middle School Band will perform in the park shelter. A special “elf” will flip the switch to light the tree. New this year will be a hot chocolate truck. Santa Claus will make an appearance as well.
-Mt. Comfort Church’s annual Holiday Bazaar will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 and include craft booths, vendors, food and a silent auction. Festivities will be held at the main campus, 3179 N. 600W., Greenfield. The church will also host a children’s pajama party with live animals Dec. 12 and several other Christmas events. See www.mtcomfortchurch.com for more.
-Fortville Winterfest is set for noon to 7 p.m. Dec. 4 on Main Street. A parade will be at 1 p.m. and a kids zone and holiday street market all day. See facebook.com/fortvilleactioninc for more details.
-Cumberland’s Weihnachtsmarkt (vie-noks-mart) is an annual event for families to celebrate the holidays and the town’s German heritage. Held from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, the free event includes food, family entertainment like Reindeer Games for kids, a carriage ride, tree lighting and a visit with santa. Visit www.town.cumberland.in.us for more.
-Bring some bells to welcome Santa to the town of Shirley from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27. The annual Downtown Christmas Walk encourages families to shop at local businesses by picking up a Bingo card and strolling the streets of Shirley. Santa will be welcomed at 5:30 p.m.
-The annual Christmas Tree Walk at Shirley’s Octagon House will feature free tours and meals to purchase, raising money for restoration of the historic home. Events are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4, and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11. Visit facebook.com/indianaoctagonhouse for details.