NEW PALESTINE – A celebration of home and community is coming up in New Palestine.

With festive lights, painted windows, gingerbread houses and more, Winter Fest’s “Home for the Holidays” theme strives to bring families and businesses together this Saturday, Dec. 9.

Erin Garvey, New Palestine Main street’s chairperson for the event, said with so many people coming together to decorate and make the event happen, now all they need is ideal weather and an eager community following.

“Main Street has, for the last several years, just had this dream of providing our community with a great Winter Fest celebration and every year it seems to continue to grow, and this year it has definitely gotten bigger,” she said.

The event, in collaboration with the New Pal Chamber, will include a Shop Hop where people can pick up a map of places to visit at town hall and get stamped for a chance to win prizes. Festivities begin at 3 p.m. with vendors, food, games, cloggers, choirs, photo opportunities and free hot chocolate.

“We are going to have activities for kids, crafts, games, obviously we’re going to have special visitors — Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be there for kids to visit,” Garvey said.

The jolly pair will be outside of the Nichols Building, while inside the building people can view the first-ever gingerbread house display by local businesses, nonprofits and families.

A lighted parade begins at 5:15 p.m. and a tree lighting will follow. Expect large trucks and lots of fun with small, decorated golf carts, Garvey said.

The holiday cheer isn’t limited to the downtown New Palestine area, though. The annual Light the Night tour map will be available at the event and online, featuring houses in New Palestine and nearby that people can drive by to enjoy lights from their cars.

The festival will happen rain, snow or shine.

“We’re just going to pray we have nice weather,” Garvey said. “(I enjoy) just the magic it brings to our community. It’s always been a personal dream of mine to create some sort of event surrounding Christmas, surrounding winter to bring that joy and magic to our family, to our community members.”

Several volunteers have been instrumental in getting the events rolling and the streets of New Palestine decorated, including Teri Reed and Katherine Kortz.

“The women and men who volunteer with Main Street have just done an amazing job putting together the atmosphere and the decorations and everything, you can just feel that joy and magic already there already starting,” Garvey said.

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