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December 2, 2012

A JOLLY OLD TIME: Holiday kickoff in downtown Jeffersonville draws crowds

JEFFERSONVILLE — Santa Claus came to town Saturday and helped Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore throw the switch to light up Warder Park for Light Up Jeffersonville.

The festivities — sponsored by Jeffersonville Main Street, Inc. — leading up to the lights and the light up itself brought out hundreds for Jeffersonville’s holiday parade, Cookie Stroll and light up.

Jay Ellis, executive director for Jeffersonville Main Street Inc., said beautiful weather and holiday fun brought out the crowds.

“We’ve had excellent turnout, the weather really contributed to that,” Ellis said. “It’s Dec. 1 and it’s in the upper 60s, so that really encourages people to stroll the sidewalks.”

The second-annual Holiday Cookie Stroll had one change that Ellis said his organization is already looking at expanding. Participants had to purchase tickets this year. Ellis said all 250 tickets sold out just before the event started.

But while some community members couldn’t secure a ticket, some business owners along Spring Street thought the event was a little nicer this time around.

Carolyn Minutillo, owner of Lavender Hill Florals, helped pass out cookies to patrons. She said she thought the tickets made it nicer for people who were collecting cookies.

“It seems like doing the tickets and doing it once before, it made it work a little more smoothly for the people coming through,” Minutillo said.

Also, first-time business participants also said they enjoyed having a chance to be involved with the Cookie Stroll.

Josh Stubblefield, owner of The Clipper Barber and Styling Shop, said with their new location on Spring Street, they’ve enjoyed being able to have people in and out of their store.

“We’ve been down here for three months now,” Stubblefield said. “We’ve done every event since we’ve been here and I think it’s great to have people coming in and out when they didn’t know what was down here.”

After the stroll ended at 5 p.m., both sides of Spring Street were lined with families to watch the holiday parade. Floats, fire trucks and decorated cars made their way down and children got their first glimpse of Santa Claus for the evening.

Andy Langdon, a Jeffersonville resident, and his children found a spot and ate the cookies they collected from the stroll. He said he really enjoyed being able to participate in the community with his family and see a fun event. He said last year, they didn’t know about the Cookie Stroll and wanted to make sure they didn’t miss out this time around.

“I think we knew about this year because after we got to Light Up Jeff last year, someone told us about it at the end,” Langdon said.

Ellis said he was glad to see such a big crowd this year and hopes the holiday event continues to grow every year.

“It’s good to see all the people up and down the sidewalks and it brings back the stories when the city was the center of commerce,” Ellis said, “and we’re hoping to bring it back to that.”

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Savannah Hatton, junior, and Clay Gulley, senior, act out a scene as Mr. and Mrs. Bennett in Floyd Central High School's production of "Pride and Prejudice." The show opens Friday night.

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