Light Up Dennison holiday event planned for Nov. 28

Light Up Dennison holiday event planned for Nov. 28

Image Credit: Teri Stein

A new event this year for merchants and organizations will kick off with a special Downtown Dennison Cruise on Sunday, Nov. 28 from 6-7 p.m. In addition to the displays, Light Up Dennison will have Santa, Mrs. Claus, Polar Express elves, Christmas carolers from Park Christian Church and refreshments.

The Dennison Eagles will provide hot chocolate, and the committee is hoping to connect with an organization willing to distribute cookies.

Little Roaming Railroad will provide complimentary tain rides out of the First National Bank Parking lot in the 100 block of Grant Street.

The event is free and open to the public.

On Monday, Nov. 29, the night of the Twin Cities Community Christmas Parade, businesses are encouraged to stay open from 5-6 p.m. and offer incentives for shoppers prior to the parade. The parade will start in Uhrichsville at 6 p.m. and will march to Dennison.

Drivers also are welcome to drive through the downtown Dennison holiday displays anytime through Christmas. There will be an eight-block area filled with decorations for the holidays.

“This is the first year. It just came into play here probably within the last month,” said Vikki O’Hara of Dennison, who is the chairperson of the economic development committee for Dennison Council. “We discussed it and thought maybe we could try and pull it off. We went around to the area businesses and told them our idea; they were all on board. I think we’ve got almost 100% participation from the area merchants that are going to do a display or light up their windows and participate.”

Those merchants and organizations participating in the light-up will have a chance to win a variety of prizes and local gift cards. Winners also will receive a sign for their window.

Award categories include Santa’s Favorite for best overall display, Magical Masterpiece for the best whimsical or humorous display, Classic Christmas for best traditional décor, Polar Express for best décor reflecting the Polar Express theme, Most Original for best nontraditional décor and the Griswold Award for the most over-the-top décor.

“This is a good way of showcasing and spotlighting our area businesses to remind our residents to shop local, not just throughout the year, but at Christmastime,” O’Hara said, adding many people like to give gift cards, and Dennison has restaurants that attract many customers from out of town.

There are a total of 60 businesses located in Dennison, in general.

“The vision at first was just to get the area businesses to just light up Dennison,” O’Hara said. “But now that the community is really getting excited, I think that it’s just going to make everyone else want to even add more and bring more to the vision.”

Dennison village officials extended thanks to Shirley Trolio Shinaberry of the village, who has donated approximately $10,000 worth of Christmas decorations to help with the project. Most will be displayed on the block by the gazebo, which also will feature the large nativity scene that’s been part of the village’s decorations for years.

The village workers are already in the process of decorating Dennison with many decorations up at city hall and at the fire garage. The clay pipe planters that decorate the village year round will be decked out for the holidays with candy canes and other Christmas decorations.

O’Hara loves the candy cane poles on Second Street they started doing several years ago. “Coming into town the first time I saw that, I was stunned,” O’Hara said. “I had to stop and take a picture of it.”

“It’s such a long, straight stretch, and all those red and white lights coming in are just striking,” said Tammy Taggart, executive assistant to Mayor Greg DiDonato.

The merchants and those participating have been asked to keep the lights lit every evening until Christmas to make the downtown inviting, welcoming, alive and festive.

“Our main focus is on the merchants to try and keep business local. I have a business myself; I know how important that is,” O’Hara said. “It will be beneficial all the way around for business, for the community and for visitors coming in for the Polar Express.”

Dennison already has a charm that can only be enhanced by the Light Up Dennison event.

“We have a great little town, a quaint little town, and it’s going to be beautiful,” O’Hara said.

The economic development committee is always working to keep Dennison businesses alive and well.

“We’ve got things in the works here,” O’Hara said. “In the last three months, we did a business survey that we sent out to the area businesses to get some feedback as to how they feel their businesses are going and what improvements they would like to see, how we as a village can help them as far as attracting more business for them and working together.”

In the next year, Dennison officials also would like to put together a business district committee.

“That way we can get more minds together and we can pull more ideas that can work for everyone,” O’Hara said.

Another project in the works is a new green space area. The area will be privately owned, but the city will be able to use it for a sitting area and possibly a Christmas tree light-up in the future and other special events.