By Sue Moore
Hundreds of children and their parents line up to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus during Vicksburg’s annual Christmas in the Village celebration each year, usually in the cold outside the Community Center. Plans have changed dramatically for 2018. Santa will greet the youngsters inside the empty Hill’s Pharmacy building at 110 S. Main from 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.
Visits with Santa will follow the 6 p.m. parade through downtown streets with the Big Red Machine, Vicksburg High School’s marching band, leading off. Floats lit with Christmas lights will be the featured attraction along with fire trucks from all over the area in their Christmas finery.
Activities begin with the bake sale fundraiser at the Historical Society’s Depot Museum from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Vendors from the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market will set up in the Hill’s Pharmacy building until 5 p.m. Featured dance acts from the Vicksburg Schools Community Education department will perform on the stage in Oswalt Park during the afternoon. Magician Brian Penney, who held kids captivated last year, begins the fun at 2 p.m. on the stage. A special reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will be given by Terri Girardi. Caroling and other entertainment will be featured in the tent furnished by the village of Vicksburg to keep people somewhat warm. Festive window decorations by local businesses will add to the atmosphere throughout downtown.
Lots of children’s activities are scheduled during the afternoon at the Community Center where the Vicksburg District Library, the Southwest Michigan Button Club, Revelry Theatre and Project Graduation will be sponsoring kids’ events and food for sale. If that isn’t enough excitement for the little ones, the event organizing committee headed by Mary Ruple and John DeBault of the Downtown Development Authority have secured a live reindeer exhibit at the Vicksburg Historic Village from 4-7 p.m.
While petting the reindeer, folks who love model trains can take a nostalgia trip next door to see the O gauge train display in the Historic Village. To get there, a wagon ride from downtown is available to transport entire families to the site and bring them back again. Crafts and other activities will take place within the business locations downtown. There will be bake sale items available for sale at 101 E. Prairie in the afternoon.
To cap off the evening after the parade, there will be a tree lighting ceremony in Oswalt Park along with the Vicksburg High School choir members leading a community caroling session.
“Visitors to the event will be able to warm their tummies with specialty foods created for the occasion at the downtown restaurants,” according to DeBault. The Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Pub Crawl to wrap up the evening for adults.
Ruple credits the sponsors of the event for making it noteworthy. ”Without their financial help we just couldn’t offer all these festivities,” she said. They include Frederick Construction, The Mill at Vicksburg, Imerys, Main St. Pub, the Village of Vicksburg, the Area Chamber of Commerce, Grossman Law, Hungry Howies and Fred’s Community Pharmacy. All have chipped in at various funding levels.