Most have already gotten an early start.
Deep discounts by local merchants, some of whom opened their doors as Thanksgiving meals began a slow digestion late Thursday, have served as a thankful welcome mat for many to the coming Christmas season.
Shopping will dominate the scene throughout our community over the next week, but on Friday, Dec. 6, the bells of Christmas will truly begin to ring. That’s because MainStreet Cleveland is again heralding the arrival of “A Classic Christmas in Cleveland.”
The fun gets underway next Friday at 6 p.m. beginning on the steps of the Post Office Annex on Broad Street. Here, traditional Christmas greetings will be delivered by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis. With some help from the triumphant returns of Santa and Mrs. Claus, the mayors will light the community Christmas tree.
A night of lights and music will kick off with the First Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir performing on the Post Office Annex steps.
And once the massive downtown tree is shining bright, the gathered crowd will enjoy choir performances at the churches in Historic Downtown Cleveland. In a unique “reverse caroling” fashion, the “Classic Christmas” crowd will walk together to Broad Street United Methodist Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church Children’s Choir at the Lee University Church Street Annex and First Cumberland Presbyterian Church where they will enjoy some of the season’s finest holiday tunes.
The crowd will put a wrap on the evening tour when attendees stop by the Courthouse Plaza to enjoy the evening finale by Cleveland State Community College’s Vocal Rhapsody.
Throughout the evening, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be snuggled in the Courthouse Plaza bandstand to greet children and pose for parents’ cameras. And, free carriage rides will be offered in historic downtown until 8 p.m.
When it comes to ringing in Christmas, Friday’s festivities are only the warmup. On Saturday, the annual Christmas parade will begin at 6 p.m. This longest running, popular holiday tradition in Cleveland will wind its way through historic downtown.
The route will include: Departs from Bradley Central High School, travels north on South Lee Highway to 3rd Street, north on Ocoee Street, around the monument, south on Broad Street, continues on to Inman Street, and back to South Lee Highway to the school. For more information, contact the MainStreet Cleveland office at 479-1000 or visit the website at www.mainstreetcleveland.com.
But the fun’s still not finished.
On Sunday, Dec. 8, Lee University School of Music will present its 25th annual “A Classic Christmas” at 3 p.m. in Conn Center.
Admission to the concert is free and open to the public. However, tickets are required due to limited seating. For ticket reservation and information, call the box office at 423-614-8343.
Some area residents attend the Friday night doin’s. Others prefer the parade. And still others have a hankering for the Sunday afternoon indoor music.
And some enjoy it all. That’s because it’s a Cleveland tradition and it’s a much appreciated welcoming into this season of unbridled joy.
The Friday night festivities that kick off the blessed weekend are best described by Melissa Woody, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau, who calls it “heartwarming and charming.”
She adds, “It will definitely fill you with joy and a warm holiday spirit. We look forward to a wonderful evening.”
So do we.
Want to get some genuine Yuletide spirit ... outside the perimeter of department store discounts? Try out “A Classic Christmas in Cleveland.”
You’ll be glad you did.