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Tree Lighting Event to Kick Off the Holiday Season in Downtown State College

by on November 20, 2019 5:00 AM

I turned on the radio the other day and a local station had already started playing non-stop holiday music. I see where the Hallmark Channel is already showing Christmas movies.

If it seems like the holiday season is starting earlier and earlier, well it is.

In fact, local store owners are getting their windows decorated, and soon we will officially kick off the holiday season with our annual tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s arrival on Friday, Nov. 22. Thanksgiving falls on the latest possible day this year, Nov. 28, so there is one less week to the shopping season.

With that in mind, why wait until Black Friday or Small Business Saturday? The Downtown Holiday Open House, on Nov. 23rd, kicks off a quiet week on campus, and that means it’s a great week to come downtown, check out the deals, grab lunch or dinner and enjoy the festive spirit.

If this sounds like a bit of a Chamber of Commerce pitch, well it is. Supporting our locally-owned, small businesses is good for the community — whether it’s a near-100-year-old staple like Harpers, or our newest addition, Three Little Birds Boutique.

So, crank up the holiday tunes and head downtown. Here are just a few “must do” events this holiday season:

HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING
FRIDAY, NOV. 22
5:30 TO 8 P.M.

A holiday tradition for decades, the community gathers on Allen Street to sing carols, enjoy cookies and treats and welcome Santa. Donations are collected for the State College Area Food Bank and Toys for Tots, and one lucky donor is chosen to help Santa light up the tree at the Allen Street gate.

3WZ and B94.5 radio personalities host the event, which includes musical performances from a variety of community groups. Following the tree lighting ceremony, children will get a chance to meet Santa at the Kish Bank Expect More Store.

DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE
SATURDAY, NOV. 23

Why wait for Small Business Saturday? Visit downtown for a holiday open house. Visit favorite locally-owned shops and restaurants and get a jump start on your shopping list. Enjoy demonstrations, refreshments, raffles and giveaways at participating businesses.

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
SATURDAY, NOV. 30

Now in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday is a way to support small, locally owned businesses that make the downtown special.

DECEMBER FIRST FRIDAY AND
APOLLO WINTER OUTDOOR MARKET
FRIDAY, DEC. 6

In addition to our usual First Friday activities, the student group APOLLO plans to host an outdoor winter market on Fraser Street from 3 to 7 p.m., including vendors, music and food. Proceeds will benefit THON.

POLAR EXPRESS AND SANTA’S WORKSHOP
SATURDAY, DEC. 7 AND SUNDAY, DEC. 8
SATURDAY, DEC. 14 AND SUNDAY, DEC. 15

The Polar Express, sponsored by PNC Bank, will have a bit of a new look this year. In addition to enjoying a reading of the Polar Express, the State Theatre will present the movie “Polar Express” each day. Best off all, it’s all free of charge.

What won’t change is the trolley ride to Santa’s Workshop at the municipal building, hosted by the Downtown State College Rotary Club. Santa will be there to greet and take photos with every child. After visiting with Santa, children enter the workshop and pick out a free toy. The last stop is the craft table where kids receive a printed copy of their photo with Santa.

Additional family activities will happen throughout the two-week event with additional details still in the works.

Advanced reservations may be made online beginning Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 9 a.m.Check out Downtownstatecollege.com or Downtown State College on Facebook, to learn how to register. The Schlow Centre Region Library has opted not to participate in the event, so all reservations will be handled by the Downtown State College Improvement District. Walk up and stand by tickets will also be available during the event.

FREE DOWNTOWN PARKING

Free Merchant Parking Validations are available at most downtown businesses or by stopping by the Downtown State College Improvement District office during normal business hours, at 127 Fraser St. at the MLK Plaza.

DOWNTOWN GIFT CARDS

Don’t forget, Downtown State College gift cards make perfect stocking stuffers. Gift cards are valid at more than 100 downtown locations and are available online at www.downtownstatecollege.com or at the Downtown State College Improvement District office, 127 S. Fraser St.

Rob Schmidt is the executive director of the Downtown State College Improvement District.



Rob Schmidt is executive director of the Downtown State College Improvement District.
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