In downtown Meadville, storefront windows are already decked out in vibrant displays of holiday cheer, inviting passersby to stop for a moment and take in the sights of the season.
There’s a lot to see: Festively lit trees, wreaths, holiday figurines and more.
“I can’t picture anything more Christmas-like,” said Kathleen Bishop, president and chief executive officer of Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce.
And there’s even more — much more — to come as the City of Meadville invites everyone to celebrate its second annual Light Up Night on Friday.
Festivities marking the annual illumination of the city’s holiday decorations begin at the historic Meadville Market House with a variety of complimentary refreshments (cookies, cider, hot chocolate, coffee and samples from selected vendors) served inside from 4 to 9 p.m. Beginning at 5, Market House visitors will also be treated to live hammer dulcimer music.
Also beginning at 5, a carriage drawn by Clydesdale horses proceeds from the Market House up Chestnut Street, circles Diamond Park and return to the Market House. Rides, which cost $3 for adults and children over 12 and $2 for children 12 and under, continue until 9.
Both the reception and carriage rides are sponsored by Friends of the Market House.
Festivities at Diamond Park begin at the Gazebo with radio station COOL 101.7 kicking off the celebration with Christmas music at 5:30.
Activities at the Gazebo beginning at 6 are set to include the presentation of the community tree decorated by First National Insurance Agency; sing-along Christmas carols with Miss Crawford County and Miss Meadville; and the reading of the official Light Up Meadville proclamation by Mayor Christopher Soff. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will also be available there.
And, at 6:30, Santa Claus arrives at Diamond Park to help with the lighting of the Christmas tree before parading down Chestnut Street to the Downtown Mall.
Santa will stop briefly at Chestnut and Park Avenue to wave on the lights at @ the Bank and again at Chestnut and Market streets to light up the Market House as he leads the parade to the Downtown Mall on Water Street at the end of Chestnut.
After arriving at The Downtown Mall, Santa’s planning to hear Christmas wishes and pass out candy canes as a brass quintet from Allegheny College performs Christmas music.
Downtown businesses will also provide holiday snacks for patrons.
This year’s festivities also include Meadville Market House’s fourth annual Holiday Trees of Meadville Decorating Contest. Judging, which begins at 3 p.m. on Friday and ends at noon on Dec. 11, will be by popular vote. Winners will be announced at the Market House on Dec. 11 at 1 p.m.
The winners of this week’s fifth annual Christmas Cookie Bake-Off sponsored by Make It Meadville will also be announced by Santa during the festivities at Diamond Park.
And the chamber has organized a holiday decorating contest for downtown businesses, with secret judges planning to visit participating stores throughout the evening of Light Up Night to check out the stores’ holiday themes, decorations and snacks. Winners will be announced at the Chamber’s December Monthly Luncheon on Tuesday, according to Bishop.
Participating businesses in the contest are: Bush Investment Group, 911 Diamond Park; Crawford Eye Associates, 1039 Park Ave.; Forever Broadcasting, Downtown Mall; I Love Your Shoes Shoe Shoppe, Downtown Mall; Jeron Diamond Jewelers, 307 Chestnut St.; Loeffler’s Flowers, 207 Chestnut St.; Sandy’s Artworks, 215 Chestnut St.; and The Hairitage Hair Salon, 1004 Park Ave.
“We just want people to come out and really enjoy” all that’s happening, said Bishop.