So, you know how some people roll their eyes when they see their neighbors putting up Christmas lights before Thanksgiving? I am not those people. “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute!” I try to show restraint and enjoy each holiday as it comes… but I have a hard time containing my excitement when it comes to THE holiday season. In fact, I have a team of folks around town who are trained to call me when they see the City of Kenosha’s Christmas Tree in route to its place of honor in front of the Kenosha Public Museum so I can go take pictures to share with everyone (it arrived on Tuesday morning last week, in case hyou were curious)! I am the person who knows when the holiday movies start on the Hallmark channel. I am the person who announces when holiday music takes over certain radio stations – okay, who am I kidding. I put Christmas music on to write this blog! And I am definitely the person who makes sure to squeeze every last bit of holiday fun out of the season. After all, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”
It all starts the day after Thanksgiving. To many, this Friday is traditionally known as BLACK Friday. Interpret that how you will – the day stores make so many sales that they move from being “in the red” to black, or such a crazy day that it is labeled with dark connotation associated with women fighting over Elmo toys and nearly-free Kitchen-Aid mixers. Like the Grinch, I think that this time of year, “perhaps, means a little bit more.” Rest assured, though, in Downtown Kenosha we don’t do Black Friday – we Lightin’ Up.
What is this loony, Christmas-crazed woman talking about?
Lightin’ Up Downtown! It all starts at 4:00 at the Kenosha Public Museum on Friday, November 27. Holiday inspired music will be performed by Paul Griffin, Dave Braun and Jim Siedel with guest vocalists Candy Eisenhauer and Miss Kenosha 2015 Kiersten Gonzales to get everyone in the spirit of the season. The Jolly Man in red makes his first appearance of the year and leads everyone on a short parade outside to the City of Kenosha’s tree. And with all the excitement of a countdown on New Year’s Eve, the crowd counts down to the official lighting of the giant tree. And that is just the beginning of the fun. “Nobody’s walking out on this old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here.”
An appropriately adorned Streetcar runs around Downtown Kenosha offering free rides to shuttle people from the Museum to businesses throughout downtown. Business owners and their staff will have spent hours strategically planning and decorating their windows and storefronts – and tonight is the night that all the lights go on! Even in the dark of night, it’s not a black Friday – it is all Lightin’ed Up. As guests wander the streets of our neighborhood they will find fun activities, carolers singing with glee, and even treats along the way. Enjoy a hot cocoa, “not too hot, extra chocolate, shaken not stirred” as you pop in and out of shops, galleries and restaurants. The best part of all this fine holiday fun? You get to vote for your favorite window or storefront display! The business with the most votes will get a “Major Award!”
How do I know that Downtown Kenosha is the best place to be on this deLIGHTful night? Because, “Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus” and the REAL ONE (yes, I still believe), hangs out with his elves Downtown at the Rhode Center for the Arts all night. If it’s good enough for the big guy, it’s good enough for me! So if you have to go out and get the deals at big box stores Friday, go ahead. But make sure you are downtown for the REAL deal of the day – a fun night for all ages, with the nicest business owners around. Enjoying this event doesn’t have to cost a penny – enjoying music at the museum, watching a tree light up, riding the streetcar, and walking around enjoying the lights is all FREE. “That’s soooo tinsel!”
Don’t be a “Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins!” Take a break from the hustle and bustle of “BLACK FRIDAY” - take some time to really feel like a kid again and enjoy the magic of the season! I’ll be there with my camera capturing every special moment. I’ll squeal with excitement when Santa arrives. I’ll sing along to all the songs, probably too loudly, too! And I will definitely be excited to see all the twinkling lights. “May all your days be Merry and BRIGHT” but especially bright at Lightin’ Up.