Celebrate the season

Jennifer Bailey|Commercial-NewsGrinch characters decorate windows on East North Street in downtown Danville. Downtown Danville Inc. and other organizations are sponsoring a holiday decorating contest for downtown businesses.

DANVILLE – This year local organizers are pairing the downtown First Friday events and hours of 5-8 p.m. Friday with the annual Night of Lights parade and other activities going on Friday and Saturday.

The 2018 Senior Source Night of Lights Parade & Hometown Holiday will be Friday. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. The route has changed to go west on Seminary Street and then south on Vermilion Street to conclude at Towne Centre.

Julius W. Hegeler II will be the Grand Marshal for the parade. Hegeler's Foundation has provided generous support of the Fischer Theatre renovations. The Fischer Theatre also is a parade sponsor.

The judges and band shell will be at Harrison and Vermilion streets, adjacent to the Fischer Theatre. The float judges will be Mayor Rickey Williams Jr., Cher Pollock with the Fischer Theatre, Downtown Danville Inc. President Rob Black and Amy McKinley from Senior Source Danville. The parade announcer will be Larry Weatherford.

The parade theme is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” There are about 40 parade entrants.

Other activities Friday night will include:

• 5:30 p.m.-6:15 p.m. Radiant Reds from North Ridge Middle School will perform at Temple Plaza.

• Santa Claus will be at his house at Temple Plaza after the parade. Local artist Hanah Saltsman will be face painting winter/Christmas themes at Temple Plaza. ($5) She will also have her hand- crafted art for sale.

• The Fischer Theatre will sell hot cocoa and other refreshments.

• Café 13 will sell hot cocoa and assorted holiday cookies, and will have their holiday drink and special crepe menus. Find unique books by local authors and local art for sale.

• Other businesses will be open, where one can stop in for a candy cane. They include: Vintage Villains, 126 N. Vermilion; Glory Daze, 142 N. Vermilion; Crafty Girls Boutique, 8 E. North; and Sweet Repeats, 101 N, Vermilion, will feature a hot chocolate bar.

• Lovin Cup Food Truck will sell peppermint hot cocoa and iced sugar cookies. Zeke's Eats will be at Temple Plaza with donuts and drinks.

• Downtown Danville Inc. and Lift Off Downtown space will host a winter vendor market of 10 small business and craft vendors in its building at 149 N. Vermilion St. with various vendors. The Danville Public Library also will be at the DDI building hosting a free mittens craft.

• The City of Danville will host gift wrapping by donation and ornament making. Gift wrapping by donation will be available at both DDI’s building and Senior Source, 7 E. North St. The ornament making cost is $2 and will be at Senior Source as well.

A Christmas coloring contest is starting on the night of the parade. The pages can be colored inside of Senior Source’s building. The colored pages will be posted in the city council chambers at city hall until Dec. 21 when Williams will choose the winners. There will be three age categories: 2 and younger, 3-5 and 5-9. Additional pages will be made available at the Discovering Danville Facebook page for home printing or they can also be picked up on the main level of city hall. All pages must be turned in by Dec. 19. The winners will be notified and will able to collect their prize.

• The Heron will host a Hometown Holiday dinner. Featuring Italian food, spiked hot cocoa, non-alcoholic hot cocoa and salted caramel apple cider. Walk-ins are welcome. Call to make a reservation: 274-8215. They ask patrons to bring hats, scarves, gloves or other winter wear to donate to those in need.

• Vermilion County Democratic Party will host a coffee and cocoa party.

• Winter Farmer’s Market at the Fischer Theatre from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Digital maps will be available on the Discovering Danville Facebook page as well as printed copies inside of the participating businesses.

Saturday activities will include:

• Winter Farmer’s Market at the Fischer Theatre from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Sweet Adelines will perform at Temple Plaza from 11-11:30 a.m.

• Steve Rodman and Friends will perform from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. at Temple Plaza.

• Horse drawn carriage rides will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Voting for the downtown decorated windows will continue through Christmas.

About 20 businesses have their windows decorated.

Downtown Danville Inc. board member and Senior Source Danville's Amy McKinley said downtown patrons can visit each business and vote for their favorite window by making a donation or they can go on the DDI website to vote.

McKinley said all proceeds go to the Vermilion Heritage Foundation and restoring the Fischer Theatre.

Local artists and groups also have painted the windows of the empty buildings downtown.

Santa’s House is in Temple Plaza, at North and Vermilion streets.

It will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through Dec. 22, in addition to Friday night.

Bring a camera to take a free photo with Santa.

If someone would like to purchase a holiday print of a photo, stop at Speedy's Quickprint, 44 N. Vermilion St.

The remaining sponsors: Dec. 8, Classic Homes Realty; Dec. 15, Courtesy Auto Group; and Dec. 22, Tricoci University of Beauty Culture.

There also is a mailbox at Santa’s House. Letters to Santa templates will be available at local business. Children can drop off letters in the mailbox at Santa's House before Dec. 17 to receive a letter back from the North Pole.

McKinley also reminds the public about Light up Vermilion. She said they had a great Meet and Greet on Dec. 1 at the American Legion for Vermilion Street neighbors, but she said they would like to see more lights. If people need help putting up lights, she said they have volunteers who can help.

The Light Up Vermilion Business Celebration Day is Dec. 15.

“We are asking businesses, as appropriate, to offer a special of some kind to welcome those who might be out looking at the lights,” according to McKinley.

For example Buffalo Wild Wings has agreed to offer a cheeseburger and fries for $5 on Dec. 15, she said.