By GARY POPP
Charlestown officials will brighten up Black Friday by hosting the 12th-annual Light Up Charlestown celebration.
Donna Coomer, the city’s clerk-treasurer and chairman of Charlestown Beautification Committee, said this year’s illuminating Christmas display will be the best in the event’s history.
“It is magical,” Coomer said. “Everybody should come to Charlestown and see the magic.”
Coomer said nearly 300,000 lights will be on display in the city’s square near Charlestown’s City Hall and an additional 100,000 lights will be shinning throughout other parts of the city and Greenway Park. This year’s Light Up Charlestown will kick off at 6 p.m. today, Nov. 23, in Greenway Park where a ceremonial switch will be flipped to turn on the lights throughout the city.
Coomer said folks will have the opportunity to stroll between Greenway Park and the city square to enjoy the nearly half-million lights.
“It’s an event where the community comes together and makes great family memories,” Coomer said, adding that nearly 3,000 people are expected to congregate to enjoy Light Up Charlestown on opening night.
She said the event is popular among city residents, but also for those who grew up in the area, moved away and return for the festivities.
“A lot of people come back to the community to see the event who are natives of Charlestown,” Coomer said.
She said Light Up Charlestown is the biggest Christmas display in Southern Indiana and even draws people who don’t have ties to the city. A group of senior citizens from Ohio have made arrangements to travel to Charlestown to see the seasonal spectacle, Coomer said.
The family-friendly event will include a Holiday House in the city square that will offer hot chocolate, baked goods, crafts and Santa Claus ready to listen to children’s Christmas wish lists. The light display will be synchronized to seasonal music, Coomer said, and for those who want to escape the cool weather and view the display from their vehicles, radio station 87.9 AM will be playing the same synchronized tunes.
Light Up Charlestown also will showcase a choir performing Christmas carols and a horse-drawn carriage will be available for anyone wanting to make their illuminated wonderland experience extra special. The carriage rides will be available for $4 per person from 5:20 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7:20 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. at 20 minute intervals. Carriage rides are provided on a first-come, first-served bases. The horse-drawn carriage rides will continue until the weekend before Christmas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings by reservation only.
To reserve a carriage ride, call Rhonda Davidson with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department at 812-256-3422.
Other Christmas events in Charlestown
The city will host its first Christmas parade beginning at 6 p.m. Dec. 8. The parade will start at 110 Market St. and proceed to Ind. 62. The public is encouraged to take part in the parade by creating festive floats to enter into the Christmas processional. Contact Davidson for more information. Following the parade, a float of carolers will spread Christmas cheer to several of the city’s subdivisions.
To learn morn about the caroling float or to become involved, call Coomer at 812-256-7126.