COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus pose for a picture during the 2021 Christmas Around Town festivities in downtown Three Rivers. Santa will be making an appearance on Saturday afternoon when he rides into downtown TR on a Three Rivers Fire Department truck during this year’s Christmas Around Town.

Christmas Around Town expands offerings for 2022

Holiday concert added following tree lighting

THREE RIVERS — A decades-old Christmas tradition in downtown Three Rivers returns this weekend with some new events to bolster the Black Friday weekend.

Christmas Around Town, the official kickoff to the holiday season in the city, returns on Nov. 25-27, with downtown festivities beginning at 6 p.m. Friday night. The event is a celebration of the holiday spirit in the city, with multiple holiday-themed merriments sure to get people in the spirit of the season.

“This event will offer our community a chance to come together, create new traditions and support the small businesses that make our town unique,” Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Cameron Mains said.

Starting the event off will be a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Mural Mall beginning at 6 p.m. The ceremony will feature the Three Rivers High School Aristocrats singing carols, along with a reading of “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” by Mayor Tom Lowry just prior to the official lighting. This year’s tree is a white fir tree donated by community member Scott Newland.

“It’s great to see our community come together for this special moment. The tree is in slightly elevated position this year and it makes a festive centerpiece for our historic downtown,” Mains said.

In addition to the ceremony, there will be free hot cocoa provided by Daly Lash and Spa and Daly Dope, as well as cookies from GG’s Cookies for sale near the tree beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Following the ceremony Friday night will be the Christmas Spectacular Concert at the Riviera Theatre beginning at 7 p.m. The brand-new addition to the Friday night festivities was the brainchild of Mains, who recalled multiple past and present holiday productions in the city as inspiration for putting on the concert.

“I’m extremely excited to have a holiday program this year in downtown Three Rivers. Music has always been an essential part of my holiday season growing up in Three Rivers. Whether it’s the elementary school annual programs, Choir or Band Concerts, or Make We Merry, this time of year has always been a fabulous opportunity to showcase our local talent,” Mains said.

Some of the local talent that will be on display during the concert will be the Aristocrats, the Three Rivers High School Jazz Band, the First Presbyterian Church Campanile Bells, the improv group Nat Funny, and soloists Mark Higgins, Regina Mains and Arwen Burkey.

The DDA is asking for a suggested donation of $5 for tickets for the concert, and they’ll be available at the DDA office at 57 N. Main St., the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and the Riviera Theatre box office. All proceeds will go toward the funding of the Christmas Around Town event.

The main highlight for Saturday’s Christmas Around Town events will be the arrival of Santa Claus in downtown Three Rivers at noon. As always, jolly old Saint Nick will be arriving to town via Three Rivers Fire Department fire truck, and kids will be able to visit him throughout the afternoon.

“Santa is a celebrity among the kiddos in our town and we want to make sure everyone is able to get their photo and let him know what they would like for Christmas this year,” Mains said.

Once Santa arrives, Saturday’s festivities will take place from noon to 4 p.m., with a number of local businesses participating. These include the Three Rivers Public Library at 88 N. Main St., who will be hosting a book, bake and craft sale; GG’s Cookies inside Lowry’s Books with cookie decorating kits; Desired Dreams at 2 N. Main St. hosting what Mains called a “feathered friend” along with their gift vendors; a make-and-take arts and crafts workshop and letters to Santa at 42 N. Main St.; Martell Realty with holiday vendors and free popcorn; and Colorful Roots offering an eyewear sale and a gift basket giveaway.

In addition, the Three Rivers Artist Guild will be open at 28 N. Main St., and the Holiday Artisan Market will be open at 36 N. Main St, while local businesses will have celebrations surrounding Small Business Saturday. Some businesses will be open on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. as well.

Mains said Christmas Around Town is also the beginning of what the DDA calls the “Five Festive Fridays” in downtown, which take place up until Friday, Dec. 23. These will be themed Fridays in downtown with different perks attached. They include “Giving Friday” on Dec. 2 with a non-perishable food collection for the Three Rivers Food Site and a warm clothing collection for Stone Cottage Free Store, “Festive Friday” on Dec. 9 with the unveiling of Christmas décor at participating businesses with a contest attached, and “Fugly Friday” on Dec. 16 highlighted by an ugly sweater bar/restaurant crawl.

Overall, Mains said he’s looking forward to this weekend’s festivities, which he sees as a holiday tradition for some in the community.

“This event gives our community a chance to, despite the cold weather, come out and celebrate one another,” Mains said. “This time of year can be difficult for those who may have lost loved ones and are searching for ways to keep holiday traditions alive. It also allows local families to come and participate in activities, regardless of cost, during a very expensive time of the year. All of this can be done while supporting a great cause – shopping local and supporting our community.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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