Haven Holidays to kick off season with parade, tree lighting, music and more

WENDY STIVER/THE EXPRESS Downtown Manager Kasey Blesh, right, and Bonnie Gradel, AmeriCorps worker for Downtown Lock Haven Inc., hang garland on the Triangle Park gazebo, preparing for Haven Holidays this weekend.

LOCK HAVEN — The bright holiday lights are stretched across East Main Street, and the downtown streetlight poles are decorated, too. That must mean it’s time for Haven Holidays!

The weekend of family events, sponsored by Downtown Lock Haven Inc., begins Friday with the annual tree-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Holiday colors will shimmer and shine on the tree in Triangle Park for the first time this season, and the tree will light Santa’s way as he starts his journey to our town.

The tree-lighting will include a performance by the Millbrook Playhouse Youth Ensemble. Talented kids and youth will sing songs of the season as well as selections from their upcoming production of “Annie the Musical: Junior.”

Refreshments will be available.

As always, Saturday will be the big day, with kids’ activities, Candy Cane Lane, “The Christmouse Story,” and the Lock Haven Christmas Parade all planned for Dec. 2.

PHOTO PROVIDED The Christmouse story book will come to life from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at Ross Library, on the third floor. Children’s librarian Nancy Antram is seen with Santa and the story book’s author, Michael Schloegl. The author will read “The Christmouse Story,” and afterward, the audience will enjoy songs, make an ornament, and visit with Santa. Free books, cookies, clementines and water will be given to all good children.

Kids’ fun in Triangle Park will include face-painting, a craft, and “Thomas the Train,” run by Engineer Terry Banfill from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It’s exciting,” he said, flashing his trademark smile. “I like to do this for the kids and community. I love to see their faces and happy laughter.”

A story book will come to life in the third-floor community room at Ross Library, 232 W. Main St., from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Author Michael Schloegl will read “The Christmouse Story,” and afterward, the audience will enjoy songs, make an ornament, and visit with Santa. Cookies, clementines and water will be given to all good children. Free books will be distributed. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Ross Library.

Santa will then appear at Candy Cane Lane, hosted by Avenue 209 Coffee House at 209 Bellefonte Ave. Kids are invited to pose for photos with the Jolly Old Elf from 12 noon to 2 p.m., and parents should bring a camera for the free photo-taking opportunity.

The parade at 6 p.m. will officially welcome Santa to Lock Haven.

Line-up is at 5 p.m. at Henderson and Main streets, and many organizations are expected to enter floats and marching units for this magical evening march. Parade judges will be Krisy Meeker, Heather Harper and Aaron Russell.

The parade will move up Main Street to Triangle Park, and Santa will appear on a Hope Hose Co. fire truck. Once he arrives at the park, Santa will open his hut to hear kids’ Christmas wishes.

Santa’s Hut will be open every Friday and Saturday after that, through Dec. 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays and 12 noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Downtown Inc. wants to hear from everyone planning to participate in the parade. To reserve a spot in the line-up, give the office a call at 570-748-1576 or send an email to downtown@lockhaven.org.

Participants also are asked not to dress up like Santa — there is only one Kris Kringle, after all!

The time to dress up will be for the Santa Fun Run/Walk, which has been moved to Saturday, Dec. 16. The run/walk is designed for adults and kids alike, and will include fun stations along the levee for children, with tattoos, give-aways and more. The event will start at 1 p.m., with registration at 12 noon at the levee beach pavilion. Participants are encouraged to dress like Santa or another favorite family holiday character.

Registration is $25. Santa hats will be provided for participants, and T-shirts are guaranteed for the first 50 registrants. To register, stop by the Downtown Lock Haven Inc. office at 205 E. Main St. or visit www.lockhaven.org.

Prizes will be awarded.

The Haven Holidays events could not take place without all the volunteers who make things happen, Downtown Manager Kasey Blesh said. She credits all the fire companies, especially Hope Hose, for their help, along with City Hall and Police Chief Keith Kibler, Tyler Wooding, Craig Keen and all those who lend their willing hands to decorate the downtown, and the Downtown Lock Haven Inc. Board of Directors.