Holiday Happenings

Traditional holiday events in Madison, Ind.,
to kick off the season

Expanded hours, new family fun includes live reindeer

(November 2021) – As the weather turns cooler and the leaves start to show beautiful fall colors, it is probably safe to bet someone you know, perhaps even a neighbor or housemate, has already turned on those holiday tunes and is gearing up for the holiday season.
In Madison, Ind., shoppers and families will be delighted as the traditional holiday events, including Light Up Madison, the “A Very Merry Christmas Parade” and the Madison Handmade Market are set to return.
A new event, A Very Merry Christmas Celebration, is almost guaranteed to make the most humbug of grinches smile or laugh as they watch children feed live reindeer or ice skate at the Broadway Fountain.
The annual Downtown Open House, sponsored by Madison Main Street Program, will begin the festivities on Friday, Nov. 11, and run through Sunday, Nov. 14. Participating shops along Madison’s Main Street will open their stores throughout the entire three days and feature a variety of in-store promotions, festive décor, music, food and more. Shoppers will be able to enter into a drawing to win a $250 or $500 shopping spree, courtesy of Madison Main Street Program.

Christmas float

File photo

The “A Very Merry Christmas Parade” is always a big hit in Madison, Ind. This year’s parade is set for Dec. 4.

Traditionally, the Downtown Open House is only held on a Friday evening. This year, in order to give shoppers more time, the event was expanded to the entire weekend. “Friday night wasn’t enough time for people to have a chance to really experience the variety and uniqueness of the Main Street shops,” said Madison Main Street Executive Director Austin Sims. “Our goal is to give shoppers ample opportunity to shop and support local businesses. A bonus, especially this year, will be that no shipping will be required.”
The next family fun event is the traditional Light Up Madison ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov.  26, at the Broadway Fountain. During this event, the city Christmas tree and holiday lights along Main Street will be lit after a short speech by Madison Mayor Bob Courtney. Of course, the special guest for this evening will be Santa Claus himself, who after the ceremony will head down to the Santa Cottage in front of the Main Street Comfort Station until 9 p.m. for picture opportunities. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available during the ceremony.
“This is always a big event and totally free,” said Hannah Fagen, Community Relations Director for the Mayor’s Office. “Main Street will be all decked out with holiday décor, and it’s a great way to get into the spirit of the season.”
At 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, the A Very Merry Christmas Parade will begin along Main Street. This year, every float will have a holiday theme, and the popular helium balloons of past parades, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a Smurf and others will be back. “We are still at this point looking for sponsors,” said Fagen. “Please reach out to me by Nov. 22 if interested in being a sponsor.”
An exciting new event, the A Very Merry Christmas Celebration will begin immediately following the parade on Saturday, Dec. 4, and last until 3 p.m. at the Broadway Fountain. Kids and the kid-hearted will get an opportunity to visit with live reindeer, listen to carolers, make crafts and ice skate. And it’s all free. Also, during the A Very Merry Christmas Celebration, the annual City of Madison Parks Department Christmas Crafts show, which proceeds benefit the Senior Citizen Center, will be ongoing at the Broadway Fountain. Santa will be in his cottage at the Comfort Station for picture opportunities during the event.
“Normally, people crowd along Main Street for the parade and just disappear and go home when it’s done,” said Fagen. “This new event keeps everyone in the festive spirit and downtown having fun and shopping.” 
Those looking to find unique, handcrafted holiday gifts will want to check out the annual Madison Handmade Market, a juried artisan craft and vintage fair. This year, because of popular demand, the vintage and handmade crafts show has expanded to two weekends. The first show will be held 4-8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 26, and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 27, at The Little Golden Fox, 602 W. Main St. The second show will be held 4-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4, also at The Little Golden Fox.
“Each show will feature different vendors, and there will even be new artists coming,” said The Little Golden Fox owner Cara Fox. “We have local and regional artists featuring a mix of new, vintage and reclaimed.”
The juried market features a little bit of everything from pottery to handmade wool mittens, handmade soap, jewelry and more.

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