Hello Santa

Rainy weather kept Santa inside the passenger seat of a fire truck during the 50th annual Kendallville Christmas Parade in this file photo from 2018. This year’s parade sets off at 1 p.m. on Dec. 7.

KENDALLVILLE — After a summer of popular downtown events, Experience the Heart of Kendallville is trying to keep the trend going even as the weather turns colder.

Experience the Heart of Kendallville, the city’s Main Street organization, is promoting four upcoming events happening between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, offering some holiday fun for residents and visitors.

Kendallville has been focused on boosting downtown event offerings ahead of next year’s $1.1 million streetscape project that will replace downtown sidewalks and curbs and upgrade decorative features.

During the summer, downtown played host to a few smash events, including the massively popular Fairy, Gnome and Troll Festival in May that drew hundreds in its first year. Two Food Truck Friday events also packed the downtown and the annual Kendallville Car Show continued its successful run.

Things have cooled down with the weather — although hundreds came out for the Trick or Treat on Main Street despite chilly temperatures — but with Christmas on the horizon, some downtown activity is picking back up.

Next week on Nov. 30, Kendallville is hosting a Shop Small Saturday event. Coming after Thanksgiving and the Black Friday spend-a-thon at many big retailers, Shop Small Saturday encourages people to do some holiday shopping at local small businesses.

Anyone who spends $50 or more at locally owned establishments can drop their receipts at the Kendallville Area Chamber of Commerce office for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree.

The following day on Dec. 1, the city will have its annual Christmas tree lighting and caroling at Bridert Park on Riley Street. The lighting ceremony starts at 6 p.m.

Then on Dec. 5 from 6-8 p.m., people can come downtown for free horse-drawn carriage rides as usual. In tandem with the carriage rides, the chamber will be open offering hot cocoa and treats as well as an ugliest Christmas sweater contest and prettiest wreath contest. Wreaths will then be up for auction.

Finally, the annual Kendallville Christmas Parade is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 1 p.m.

This year, a run/walk has been added, setting off from Don Gura State Farm Insurance and leading the parade down Main Street. This year’s parade theme is “A Jingle Bell Christmas.”

Following the parade, visitors can meet Santa and catch a free Christmas movie at the historic Strand Theatre downtown.

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