Just hear those sleigh bells ringing through downtown Kokomo as Santa Claus visits for First Friday.
This year’s theme, Home for the Holidays, focuses on all things cheery and bright, with sleigh rides, a kids’ craft corner at Santa’s Workshop, an opportunity to write letters to Santa and a lighting ceremony at the Howard County Courthouse.
Bona Vista’s Pre-Ets students, focused on gaining employment skills, will conduct the lighting ceremony, helping to light up the square in anticipation of Santa’s visit to town. Carolers will sing on the square during the ceremony.
Shortly after the lighting, Santa will arrive by horse-drawn carriage and parade around the courthouse square before making his way to Bind Café, where he’ll be available for visits throughout the evening. Santa’s visits are thanks to David Granger, Edward Jones financial advisor.
Thanks to Clifford Signs and Grissom Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, free sleigh rides will be offered starting at The Train Depot on Buckeye Street. From there, families can head over to the Carpenters’ Union Local 615 where kids can learn what it’s like to work in Santa’s workshop and make their own, free wood craft. The Kokomo Farmers’ Market Store is inviting children to write letters to Santa and mail them in a special mailbox meant just for the North Pole.
Several organizations will offer warm holiday treats throughout the evening. Center Road Church of Christ will host a hot beverage bar at Kingdom Cards & Games, where they’ll also host a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. The Scouts of America will offer beignets on the courthouse square. Z92.5 will offer free hot cocoa in front of P.F. Hendricks, and Muse Underground, a new thrift shop on Buckeye Street, will offer a marshmallow roasting station.
The evening will be packed with other fun activities hosted by organizations around the downtown area. Acacia Academy will host a live nativity at the Kokomo Family YMCA. The Frozen Sandlot, the ice-skating rink at the Kokomo Municipal Stadium, will be offering $3 discounts to everyone who presents a First Friday map, meaning tickets will be only $5. RoboKats all-girl robotics team will host a wrap-a-thon gift wrapping fundraiser at Shak Makerspace from 5-9 p.m. The IU Kokomo E-Sports Club will host a tournament at American Dream Hi-Fi. Chapter Two books will have an opportunity for families to pet and feed Christmas ponies from The Ark.
The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library will be celebrating the season in a galaxy far, far away with light sabre duels and a Star Wars theme. The library will also host an artist trading card exhibit, including pieces of artwork done by community members throughout the year.
During the festivities, visitors are encouraged to shop for holiday gifts in the unique downtown stores, which offer everything from musical gifts to clothing, books, handmade items and more.
“There’s so much for everyone this Friday in downtown Kokomo,” said Susan Alexander, manager of Downtown Initiatives for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance. “You won’t want to miss the shopping, the kids’ activities, and the family fun happening all evening. It’s one of my favorite things to see all the kids’ faces light up when Santa rides onto the square in his horse-drawn carriage. It’s such a delight.”
For more information, visit www.firstfridaykokomo.com or find First Friday on Twitter and Facebook.