By Jef Rietsma
During last year’s inaugural “Christmas Card Lane” at Vicksburg’s Historic Village, village officials left little doubt there would be a second one this year.
Alex Lee, Vicksburg’s director of community engagement, acknowledged last year’s Christmas Card Lane was a success beyond expectations. Lee might have added: be careful what you wish for. He explained why the village welcomed assistance this year from the Vicksburg Historical Society.
“The village seeded the program last year, got it started. With everything we’ve got going on this year and our small staff, there’s just no way we could take on the project, its expansion and all that,” Lee said. “So, we are very lucky that the Vicksburg Historical Society has actually picked up Christmas Card Lane this year. They’ve gone out and reached out” to those who wished to sponsor the event.
The second season of Christmas Card Lane opens Dec. 11 and will remain open through New Year’s weekend.
Lee said the village remains a partner via support by its DPW crew and other behind-the-scenes assistance. DPW workers will have a major job in finding additional cords, spotlights, electrical sources and other strategical challenges to address, Lee said.
The fact the number of displays has doubled last year’s total is a credit to the society, Lee noted, adding there were about 35 cards in 2020 and will be at least 70 this year.
Lee said some logistics will be required to accommodate the number of cards. Last year, they were lined along the right-hand side of the road through the historic village. Options this year include placing the cards on both sides of the route and expanding the display area.
“People will come in off Richardson at the Depot Museum, go through, hit Spruce Street, turn to the north and then come back on that little dirt road that splits the pavilion,” he said. “We expect there will be cards in that part, too.”
Lee said the concept of Christmas Card Lane has the potential to grow in unimaginable ways. He has visions of a pedestrian format, with Clark Park or the walking trail at the northeast end of town as possible locations.
The cards themselves are 4-by-8-foot plywood boards sponsored by individuals and businesses. Sponsors work with the Sign Company of Kalamazoo to create a design or message on their card. Lee said The Sign Company uses an aluminum composite panel with a high-density corrugated core called Alumilite. Images can be applied to the surface, which retains color that does not run or fade.
The panels were secured by a pipe bracket to metal poles and illuminated by spotlights.
The cards remain on display and can be viewed any time. A hay wagon ride will be offered on opening day, Dec. 11.
Another big attraction on its way is Vicksburg’s holiday parade. The parade is also Dec. 11.
“This year we’re going back to a more traditional route,” Lee said. “They’ll gather at the village’s administration building around 5 o’clock. They’ll come up Kalamazoo, to Prairie, to Main, go south to Park Street and then back over to Kalamazoo.”
Lee said he’s not sure exactly how many entries will be in the parade. He referred to the village’s Facebook page for more information about Christmas Card Lane and the Dec. 11 Christmas in Village.
He said there will be a full day of events, including horse-carriage rides, arts and crafts, and a tree-lighting ceremony. Santa will be at Main Street Pub’s banquet room after the parade.