By BRADEN LAMMERS
Snowflakes already adorn the light poles along Spring Street, the Jeffersonville Ice Rink is open, but the official kick-off to the holiday festivities in Jeffersonville doesn’t happen until Saturday.
Several events will welcome the holiday season in Jeffersonville on Saturday, starting with the Cookie Stroll along Spring Street, followed by the Light Up the Holiday Parade and immediately following the parade, Light Up Jeffersonville will be hosted in Warder Park.
Jay Ellis, Executive Director of Jeffersonville Main Street Inc., said some changes have been made to the Cookie Stroll, which is only in its second year. He said this year’s event will be ticketed because of the large turnout last year.
“We had such an overwhelming response that some merchants were overwhelmed,” Ellis said. “We don’t want to disappoint people ... [and] there’s just a limit to what the merchants can afford to provide.”
There are 250 tickets available — at $2 each — for the event and they are available for purchase at Sugar Maples Antiques, 109 W. Maple St.; Schimpff’s Confectionery, 347 Spring St.; and Choices/CCF Boutique, 437 Spring St. Participants in the cookie stroll are required to bring the tickets with them for the event and it entitles them to a cookie at each of the merchants participating in the event along Spring Street from 3 to 5 p.m.
For merchants, the cookie stroll provides an opportunity to have some direct interaction with their current customers and hopefully new customers, Ellis said. While it is a conscious choice for many to support small, locally owned businesses when they shop in historic downtown, another draw is the connection to the past.
“When many people come to downtown, they’re also coming down for the charm and nostalgia,” Ellis said. “Downtown is the place where you have that history. Downtown Jeffersonville is the type of setting people want to experience during the holidays. We try to showcase that during these events.”
And for this year’s festivities there are more participants expected than ever before.
Sara Schutz, parks department assistant superintendent of special events and RiverStage, said 35 participants have already signed up for the parade and with a few more expected to join.
“It’s more than we’ve ever had for this parade,” she said. “We’ve almost doubled from last year.”
Schutz said it is likely because people are realizing the holiday parade is back, which is in just its third year, after being resurrected as an event last held in the 1950s.
“It’s definitely a great holiday family-friendly event, we have a lot going on that day with the cookie stroll starting at 3 p.m., the parade beginning at 5 p.m. then followed by light-up,” she said. “It’s a complete day for holiday activities for the family that are free.”
Following the Light Up the Holiday Parade featuring Santa Claus at 5 p.m. along Spring Street and ending in Warder Park, holiday lights will be turned on in the park with music, dancing and refreshments.
Schutz added trolleys will be transporting attendees from Warder Park to the ice rink at the corner of Spring and Market streets following the Light Up event. The ice rink will feature a DJ, Frosty and Rudolph on Saturday night.
“Its a great opportunity to come downtown for a whole day of holiday festivities,” Ellis said.