Christmas Around Town Preview: Santa is coming to Three Rivers

Christmas Around Town is Three Rivers’ official kickoff to the holiday season, and it’s almost here. 

Festivities will begin on Friday, November 25 with the traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. in the Mural Mall Walkthrough, followed by the first annual Holiday Spectacular Concert at 7 p.m. at the historic Riviera Theatre. The holiday fun will continue on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. all over town to celebrate Small Business Saturday, and will continue on Sunday from 12-2 p.m. in various small businesses.

Christmas Around Town was established by businesses like Neffs, Central Florist, Vogts and Falkensteins as a way to host their respective holiday open houses. Shoppers would drive all over the county to attend these open houses each year. Ridgeway Floral is one of the original businesses to participate in this event, celebrating 48 years in 2022. The tradition evolved when Wellington’s paint store asked to join Ridgeway Floral in their holiday advertising, and year after year more businesses joined, eventually becoming what we recognize today as Christmas Around Town. 

Tree Lighting Ceremony

The Christmas Tree Lighting will feature a free hot cocoa station sponsored by Daly Lash Salon and Spa and Daly Dope, as well as GG’s cookies for sale near the tree starting at 5:30 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to get tickets for the Holiday Spectacular Concert at the tree lighting as well. 

The TRDDA is asking for a $5 donation per ticket with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward funding Christmas Around Town. The Three Rivers Aristocrats will sing carols, and Mayor Tom Lowry will read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore for the crowd.

“It’s great to see our community come together for this special moment,” Three Rivers DDA Executive Director Cameron Mains said. “The tree is in a slightly elevated position this year, and it makes a festive centerpiece for our historic downtown.”

The tree is a white spruce donated by community member Scott Newland. 

Holiday Spectacular Concert

There will be seven acts in total for the 2022 Holiday Spectacular including:

·Three Rivers High School Jazz Band

·Three Rivers High School Aristocrats 

·First Presbyterian Campanile Bells 

·Nat Funny Improv Group 

·Mark Higgins – soloist

·Regina Mains – soloist  

·Arwen Burkey  – soloist

·And Santa Claus himself will be making an appearance!     

“I’m extremely excited to have a holiday program this year in downtown Three Rivers,” Mains said. “Music has always been an essential part of my holiday season growing up in Three Rivers, whether it’s the elementary school annual programs, choir or band concerts, or Make We Merry, this time of year has always been a fabulous opportunity to showcase our local talent.”

St. Nick on Saturday

The signature event of Christmas Around Town will come on Saturday, when Santa makes his way to Riviera Theatre at noon, traveling via a Three Rivers fire engine. 

“Santa is a celebrity amongst the kiddos in our town, and we want to make sure everyone is able to get their photo and let him know what they would like for Christmas this year,” Mains said.

Other happenings this weekend

·The Three Rivers Public Library will be hosting a Friends of the Library Christmas Around Town Book, Bake, and Craft Sale as well as a storybook stroll at local businesses. 

·GG’S Cookies will be handing out cookie decorating kits

·Desired Dreams is hosting a feathered friend along with their gift vendors.

·There will be horse drawn carriage rides sponsored by Lynn’s Garage 

·Folks can participate in a Make and Take Arts & Craft Workshop and send letters to Santa at 42 N Main St. 

·The Three Rivers Artist Guild will be open at 28 N. Main St. 

·The Holiday Artisan Market will be open at 36 N. Main St.

·Martell Realty will be hosting holiday vendors and giving out free popcorn. 

·Colorful Roots will be offering Buy One, Get One Free eyewear, and a His&Hers Gift Basket Giveaway 

One final note 

The Holiday Spectacular Concert will be the kickoff to this year’s five Festive Fridays in Downtown Three Rivers.

Falala Friday – Nov. 25

·Lighting Ceremony – 6 p.m. @ Mural Mall 

·Free hot cocoa station for shoppers 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.

·Holiday Spectacular Concert – 7 p.m. at Riviera Theatre 

Giving Friday – Dec. 2

·Toy collection for Three Rivers Lions Club 

·Non-perishable food collection for Three Rivers Food Site

·Warm clothing collection for Stone Cottage Free Store 

·Businesses are encouraged to offer a deal/discount for shoppers who donate at their store.

Festive Friday – Dec. 16 

·Unveiling of Christmas décor at participating businesses

·Shoppers can vote for businesses in a variety of categories (Best Storefront, Best in House, Best Color Scheme, etc.) Voting will take place at the DDA office from 1-8 p.m.  (57 N. Main St.) 

Fugly Friday – Dec 16

·Ugly Sweater Bar/Restaurant Crawl 

·A Fully Stamped Crawl Card will enter you into a raffle for a boozy gift basket (must be 21 to enter) 

·Businesses are encouraged to give special deals for Ugly Sweater Participants.

Final Friday – Dec 23

·Last minute special deals for area businesses. 

·Free movie at the Riviera Theatre – Elf at 7 p.m.

“These events give our community a chance to, despite the cold weather, come out and celebrate one another,” Mains said. “This time of year can be difficult for those who may have lost loved ones and are searching for ways to keep holiday traditions alive. It also allows local families to come and participate in activities for little to no cost during a very expensive time of the year. 

“All of this can be done while supporting a great cause – shopping local and supporting our community. Overall, this event will offer our community a chance to come together, create new traditions, and support the small businesses that make our town unique!”