The annual Mayor’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony is upon us as the downtown Ottawa Christmas lights will be turned on Saturday night.
“It is an annual tradition,” John Coen, CEO and president of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, said. “There are several unique features that are going to happen this year. A lot of the existing traditions will take place that people really look forward to and enjoy.”
The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with the cookie decorating and crafts for the children, which will be either in the Chamber office or outside in front of the Chamber office.
The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. in Haley Park, Second and Main Streets, in downtown Ottawa.
“We are a go if there is [cold] weather or not,” Coen said. “This is for the whole community. Kids have a great time. It is a good family event.
It is good way to kickoff the holiday [season].”
Coen said Saturday will be a good day for the community to celebrate and spend part of the day in downtown Ottawa.
“It is Small Business Saturday,” he said. “We want people to come down for the afternoon, do a little shopping, take in a movie, eat a meal and stay for the lighting ceremony. That officially gets the Christmas holidays shopping season started in Ottawa.”
Coen said the event will be family-friendly with Spotlight Dance providing entertainment. Arvest Bank will give away two new children’s bicycles. Katie Wooge will lead the singing of Christmas Carols. Phil Messenger will read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.’
This year’s honoree to flip the light switch is Brenda Hayden.
“This year, Mayor Mike Skidmore offered the honor to throw the switch at the Bow-Meow, the annual Prairie Paws fundraiser,” Coen said. “Brenda Hayden purchased that. She grew up here and recently moved back.”
Coen said a couple of special guests will make an apperance. Santa Claus will close out the evening, but he said “The Grinch” will make an appearance.
“We try to fill it with all kinds of festive things,” Coen said. “We don’t keep people out late.”
The children will have a chance to meet and talk with Santa Claus.
“They get an opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap,” Coen said. “[Santa} will stay until every child gets through the line. You have an opportunity to take their picture. Some of them are pretty excited and some get kind of scared.”