Behind the Scenes for Christmas in the Village

2014-11-26 05.41.13By Sue Moore

A lot of work goes into turning Vicksburg into a Christmas village. All is in readiness for the officially opening of the holiday season with a parade and full day of special events on Saturday, December 6th.

Thanks to the sponsorship of the Vicksburg Community Association (VCA), area residents have enjoyed the Christmas parade and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus for over 20 years. Betsy Breitenbach and her elves (the teaching corps at Sunset Lake School) have been running the show for the last ten years, taking over for Mike and Kay Wunderlin and Skip and Carol Knowles.

Hundreds of people line the streets and queue up for hot chocolate, cookies and a visit with one of the nicest Santa Claus pairs known to any child wishing for his or her favorite toy. When Kathleen Hoyle, the Downtown Development Director (DDA) talked to her board about things that could be done to highlight the special stores in the village, it became clear that the first Saturday in December presented possibilities for keeping the hundreds watching the parade through downtown Vicksburg around long after Santa departed.

Hoyle, who gets things done in a big way, pulled a group together as a think-tank for holiday activities, and wouldn’t you know it, Vicksburg now has a full-fledged day of events going on from morning into the evening. Her creativity has been felt in so many ways, but this just might be Hoyle’s finest hour, according to Tanya DeLong, president of the DDA.

There are new banners hanging from lampposts downtown, North Pole markers for the elves workshops taking place in each store, and through all of it, over 12 local businesses have chipped in to sponsor the activities that have a price tag connected to it. Those major sponsorships are what have made the whole expansion of the event possible, said DeLong, but more than anything, it was Hoyle and her jolly old elves on the committee who steered it along.

Plans are set for a winter farmers’ market, an ice sculpting demonstration, a royal carriage for Mr. and Mrs. Santa to ride in, and then a wagon with horses to take families back and forth from the village center to activities at the Historic Village. There will be Christmas carolers circulating throughout the downtown at various times, BenJammin’s children music, crafts for children, and boutique shopping at the specialty stores. To top it all off, a Christmas tree lighting in Oswalt Park followed by a pub crawl to the three local watering holes will wrap up one fine day.

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