Madison County residents have plenty of opportunities to get in the holiday spirit this weekend with activities in downtown Anderson, at East Side Church of God and in Lapel.
The festivities will kick off with the Anderson Indiana Main Street’s Winterfest at 10 a.m. today downtown. Families can enjoy food, crafts and hot chocolate. For the first time, children can drop off letters to Santa Claus outside of Moneyhun’s Fine Gifts at 115 W. Eighth St.
“We’ll take those letters and Santa Claus will write a note back to the kids,” Nancy Moneyhun, AIMS president, said.
The Anderson Center of the Arts will have its own version of Santa with a winter princess that children can take pictures with, director Deborah Stapleton said. The venue will also have crafts, a new exhibition, cookie decorating and a children’s gallery where kids can “visit” five different countries.
“I know during the holiday time there are so many demands on people’s budgets, especially families,” she said. “You can come and do something with the family at Winterfest without it costing a lot.”
Winterfest event locations today:
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Your Way Café, 1023 Meridian St.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Red Door Vintage & Thrift, 645 Meridian St.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Moneyhun’s Fine Gifts, 115 W. Eighth St.
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Soroptimists’ Cookie Walk at the Union Building, 1106 Meridian St., lobby
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Conscious Creations, 1019 Meridian St.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Madison County Historic Society, 11 W. 11th St.
Noon to 8 p.m. – Anderson Center for the Arts, 10th and Jackson streets
3:30 to 5 p.m. – Anderson Public Library, 111 E. 12th St.
4 p.m. – Greater Light Church, 317 Marine Drive
4 to 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. – The Paramount Theatre, 1124 Meridian Plaza
4 to 7 p.m., Daybreak and Visiting Nurse Care, 1304 Main St.
4 to 7 p.m., Historic Gruenewald Home, 626 Main St.
4:30 to 8 p.m., Central Christian Church, 923 Jackson St.
5 to 8 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 11th and Brown streets
People will have a chance to experience what it was like in Bethlehem for the first Christmas. East Side Church of God’s annual Imagine Christmas will include wassail, cookies and an interactive Bethlehem marketplace tonight and Saturday.
Pastor Mary Ann Randolph said the church will have its usual cookie decorating and ornament making, but changes were made to the Bethlehem portion of Imagine Christmas.
“It’s very different from past years,” she said. “It’s a timed presentation that’s like a guided tour through Bethlehem and will give people the opportunity to explore the town like you would at Conner Prairie.”
Bethlehem organizer Cami Bates said the presentation consists of the story of Jesus Christ’s birth and an interactive marketplace to see what life was like during that time. Children can knead dough, try on old-style clothes and participate in various activities with the shopkeepers.
Randolph said the Nativity presentation will include special effects to help illustrate the reason to celebrate Christmas.
“We made a decision a long time ago to find a way to get families out of the hustle and bustle and the consumerism, and to just enjoy doing things together,” Randolph said. “Our children go and experience one thing and as adults we go and experience another.
“This is a way to experience something as a family.”
Imagine Christmas is 7 to 9 p.m. today and 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Christmas in Lapel
Bulldog Corner owner Shelly McClintock-Troutman wanted to find a way to get people to Lapel businesses, so she decided to create a new Christmas event for the town’s residents.
Merchants aim to get shoppers to local shops during the first Christmas in Lapel, partly by extending their hours for the day Saturday.
“I thought, with all these new businesses, why can’t we try to do something?” said McClintock-Troutman, who also owns an antique shop called Like Mother Like Daughter. “I think it’s good to support small towns and this is one way to do that with the small businesses.”
Christmas in Lapel will start with brunch with Santa at Trinity Church and carolers will be out along Main Street throughout the day.
Pampered Chef, 31 and various other vendors will be set up at the Masonic Lodge. Barbecue and a hot chocolate bar will also be available.
McClintock-Troutman said Santa will arrive on a fire truck and will give out treats to help entertain kids.
“We tried to plan different activities all day long that way it wasn’t just for the adults shopping,” she said.
Christmas in Lapel events Saturday:
9 to 11 a.m., Brunch with Santa at Trinity Church
10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Merchants are open
Noon to 7 p.m., Carolers are on Main Street
Noon, Open house and tenderloin dinner at American Legion
Noon to 4 p.m., Photos in the gazebo at Myers Insurance
2 to 4 p.m., Cookie decorating, crafts and bake sale at Daybreak Church
5:30 to 7 p.m., Live Nativity scene at the corner of Ninth and Main streets
5 to 7: 30 p.m., hot chocolate bar at the Masonic Lodge
6 to 8 p.m., Santa at the Lapel Fire Station