By Sue Moore
The Vicksburg “Christmas in the Village” night-time parade will be three years old on Saturday, December 2 when it kicks off led by the Big Red Machine marching band. This year, there are even more activities planned for children during the afternoon and an expanded parade in the evening for the thrill of all those watching it.
Having the parade at dusk, 5:30 p.m. through downtown Vicksburg was the brainchild of Ken Schippers, village manager in 2015. He wanted floats and firetrucks to be lit with Christmas lights for a more exciting presentation. Bringing up the end of the parade will be Santa and Mrs. Santa who will weave their magic for little children afterwards in the Community Center. The parade was wildly successful with thousands crowding the main thoroughfares in the village to watch in the last two years.
Leading up to the parade will be performances of dancers from the community education department in Vicksburg schools, carolers in the afternoon roaming the streets filling them with song, a magician, entertainment by Benjammin, shopping, and children’s elf workshops. A winter farmers’ market is planned along with crafters selling their wares in the old Hill’s Pharmacy building.
Wagon rides will take participants from downtown to the Depot Museum and back around the village. There will be the usual bake sale fundraiser in the Depot and the model toy trains running in the township hall. The many buildings in the Historic Village will be open for tours.
To wrap things up after the parade, children will have a chance to ask Santa for their most cherished wishes while talking to the jolly couple in the Community Center. Earlier they will be able to write letters to Santa and place them in a mailbox set up at the room where Santa will greet them. Story time for youngsters will take place from 4 to 5 in the Community Center, led by staff from the Vicksburg District Library. The annual tree lighting will take place in Oswalt park at about 6:15 p.m. For adults who might like to imbibe in a nip or two, there will be a Holiday Pub Hop scheduled with stops at the Hide-A-Way, Main Street Pub and the Distant Whistle from 7 to 10 p.m.
New this year will be a stage for performers to sing and dance in Oswalt Park. The Vicksburg high school carolers will start things off with their Christmas music. The dancers are scheduled from 3 to 4:30 with tap dancing, ballet, jazz and Hawaiian dancers from ages five to 17 performing.
Downtown merchants and restaurant owners will be opening their doors to welcome customers all day on December 2 with special menu items featured as part of the event. The Vicksburg United Methodist Church has its annual bazaar scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Vicksburg Historical Society has its annual bake sale fundraiser set at the Depot Museum from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will also be offering their baked goods inside at the former Hill’s Pharmacy in the afternoon from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
All of these activities will be made possible through the Downtown Development Authority with a committee headed up by Mary Ruple, John DeBault and Stella Shearer. Local businesses have chipped in with cash to help support the endeavor. They include Frederick Construction, Imerys, Paper City Development, Ronningen Research and Development, Main St. Pub, Grossman Law, Fred’s Pharmacy and the Vicksburg Area Chamber of Commerce.