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Christmas in Madison

Madison plans to expand its
offerings this holiday season

Skating rink, parade, holiday market
among the activities

(November 2014) – Christmas is the time of year that makes us all feel like kids again. It’s time to decorate the tree and hang the stockings. Lights and garland are strewn and tinsel is tossed. Carols are sung and the hot cider is brewed. In more fortunate areas, a festive Christmas parade will make its way through town, bringing cheer and excitement to all in preparation for the happiest holiday of the year.

Photo by Don Ward

Santa Claus is the most popular person in the annual Very Merry Madison Christmas Parade.

In 2011 the Main Street of Madison, Ind., remained silent for the Christmas season. Aaron Kelsey, a drama teacher at Madison Consolidated High School, could not abide the lack of revelry. In 2012, he asked permission to give organizing the Christmas parade “a try.” His request was granted and Christmas was back on!
This Christmas marks the third year that Kelsey has organized the “Very Merry Madison Christmas Parade,” and it promises to be bigger than ever, he said.
Festivities will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, when the parade begins rolling at Jefferson Street and continues to Mill Street. Floats, gingerbread people, snowmen, reindeer and elves will prance to the tune of a Christmas beat. The marching bands from all three area schools will be participating, with the Madison Marching Cubs escorting the man of the hour, Santa Claus, for the finale of the parade.

After waving goodbye to Kris Kringle and his entourage, parade goers can make their way to Bicentennial Park on the Madison riverfront, where a Christmas Market and Village will be set up.
Here will be a winter wonderland built just for the enjoyment of Christmas. As if by magic, an ice rink will have appeared in the center of the park and will be surrounded by cottages where hot chocolate and cider can be purchased as well as decorations, handmade items and baked goods. Bonfires will be burning so that people can make s’mores and warm chilly hands. A jazz band will play, and a live tree lot will be set up for the annual tradition of selecting “the perfect tree.” Characters from the parade will be available for a meet-and-greet and, of course, Santa will be available to speak with all the children and pose for photographs. A live nativity will also be on display so that the true meaning of Christmas is not forgotten.

Santa’s Cottage hours and dates
at Madison Bicentennial Park.

For updated hours,
call 1-305-70-SANTA.

Nov. 28 from 7-9 p.m.
Dec. 5 from 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 6 from 1-3 p.m.
Dec. 7 from 2-4 p.m.
Dec. 12 from 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 13 from 4-6 p.m.
Dec. 19 from 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 20 from 6-8 p.m.
Dec. 21 from 2-4 p.m.

Not only will the parade and village serve to make everyone merry but will also provide an excellent opportunity for the community to come together to support one another at a time of year when we all remember the importance of kindness.
“The success of the parade and the market relies heavily on local participation and creativity,” says Kelsey.
Non-profit groups will be providing goods at the market, and the cottages themselves have been constructed by Dave Bear’s Building Trades class. Area businesses are encouraged to enter floats in the parade not just for advertisement but as a way to encourage camaraderie among employees as they work to create a festive display. No political campaigning is allowed during the parade, and all entrants are required to be in Christmas costume. Any music playing must be holiday related. A list of entry rules is available along with the registration form at City Hall and on the City of Madison website. No entry fee is charged. The deadline for registration is Nov. 7.
Individuals and groups interested in sponsoring the festivities should contact Kelsey at (812) 701-6958 or Andrew Forrester, the City of Madison’s Community Relations Director, at (812) 265-8300. Christmas ornaments fashioned after the Broadway Fountain are also being sold as a fundraiser for all of the Christmas activities. Ornaments are available for $20 at City Hall or the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. The limited edition ornaments are handcrafted of solid brass and are gold plated. Only 250 ornaments are available. Forrester reports that sponsorships are still needed for the ice rink. 
Kelsey adds that there will also be an auction of pre-decorated trees and wreaths on Nov. 14 in the Madison Consolidated High School’s library. Six foot and three-foot trees will be on the auction block and will be fully decorated in themes. Kelsey will create a “Whoville” tree. Other examples of what will be available for auction is a vintage 1950s tree and a Scandinavian wreath.
It is certainly an exciting time of year. Kelsey says, “It is a great time of year for the families of Madison to spend time in the community celebrating the spirit of the season.”
The Christmas village will be open from 1-7 p.m. Dec. 6-7.

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