New Palestine adding family features to Christmas festival

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Christmas bulbs, inside the Small Town Shoppes, set the mood for the 2017 New Palestine Christmas Walk. This year, the walk also includes family events and a tree lighting.

File photo

NEW PALESTINE — A visit to New Palestine this weekend is sure to bring holiday cheer, with the arrival of a new festival designed to bring families together and highlight the charm of the community.

“Hometown Winterfest and Lighting” in New Palestine combines the traditional Christmas Walk through downtown New Palestine’s businesses, along with new features like a festive dog show and the lighting of a Christmas tree.

Festivities kick off at 6 p.m. Friday with a showing of “The Polar Express” at the New Palestine Lions Club, 5242 W. U.S. 52. Wear pajamas and bring blankets to enjoy the free movie, which will include popcorn, hot chocolate and bells.

The New Palestine Lions Club will host a Breakfast with Santa from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday with crafts, live music and a freewill donation for the New Palestine High School Band.

The Winterfest kicks off Saturday at 3 p.m. with merchants and vendors between Bittner and Gem roads. Those who visit the nearly two dozen businesses and collect stamps can put their name in for a Visa gift card. Food trucks will feature hot dogs, pizza and drinks.

There will also be a dog agility show every 30 minutes on the lawn next to Depot Street, featuring tricks set to Christmas music.

Santa will arrive by firetruck around 6 p.m., and then he’ll light the tree on the lawn adjacent to New Palestine High School. The New Palestine High School Choir will be on hand to sing carols, and children can visit with Santa after the lighting.

“We just hope to bring the community together,” Erin Garvey, a New Palestine Main Street board member, said. “Obviously COVID has definitely thrown lots of curveballs our way and it’s been difficult, but I think it’s so important to bring the community together. And this is an opportunity for small businesses to show the community what they have to offer.”

In addition to New Palestine Main Street, activities are sponsored by the New Palestine area Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club and several businesses.

Garvey said local businesses are a vital part of the small town’s infrastructure and it’s important to build them back up. Also a mom of three, Garvey said it’s been a dream of hers to add more family events this year to the traditional walk in downtown New Palestine.

Julie Lucas, also a Main Street volunteer, said she’s eager to see the community gather and celebrate the holiday season, starting with “The Polar Express” movie Friday.

“We want people to bring the kids and wear jammies and blankets, so we can sit around and have popcorn and we’ll have bells,” she said.

On Saturday, she added, Mrs. Claus will read “The Night Before Christmas” and children can decorate ornaments. There will also be five trees on display with ornaments schoolchildren already created.

Even if you can’t make it out to New Palestine Friday, the community’s homes will be lit for the Third Annual Bob Kingry Light the Night Contest. Judging will take place Dec. 18.

“I’m just excited to have all these different events to… bring our community together and build that Christmas spirit,” Garvey said.

For more details, visit facebook.com/NewPalestineMainStreet.