Santa will return to downtown Canton this December for the annual Light Up Downtown family celebration.
This year’s event is scheduled for December 5, with the stage show beginning at 6 p.m., the fireworks going off at 6:45 p.m., and everything wrapping up at about 8:30 p.m.
Once again, activities will span 14 blocks, stretching from the Stark County District Library to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Businesses and other organizations along the way open their doors to offer crafts, hot chocolate and cookies for the thousands of people who attend.
At the ice rink, figure skaters will give demonstrations. Sleigh and carriage rides will be available. Photo-op locations will be scattered throughout downtown. Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman will be in attendance. And once Santa makes his appearance, he’ll head to the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce for visits.
In anticipation of the construction at Centennial Plaza, the main stage last year was moved toward the center of downtown near the fountains. The evening’s entertainment will feature performances from local dance and singing groups.
The chamber, with the help of sponsors, puts on the event each year as a way to draw people to Canton.
“We’re just excited to showcase downtown and what it’s looking like today,” said Chris Gumpp, director of community events and sponsorships.
Kathy Lindenberger, souvenir and event manager, distributes 11,000 fliers to local schools. And now that the artists on Fourth Street have opened their doors for the event, the streets are less crowded because people are inside.
With the event, the chamber also runs a “Spread the Warmth” campaign to collect and distribute hats, gloves, scarves and socks to children in need. Volunteers sort all the items, and members of the Canton Fire Department hand them out to kids.