The annual Holiday Festival will kickstart York’s Holiday Season on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Downtown York will be busy with families joining in the spirit of the evening. Rhonda Veleba has been busy coordinating with various businesses and organizations planning the activities for everyone to enjoy. Like so many of our events, the Holiday Festival is an opportunity for fundraising for several of our local organizations. New this year, the Boy Scouts will be selling their very popular funnel cakes and Relay for Life will have savory snacks for sale. A popular staple will return as well. York E-Free Church will be serving popcorn and hot chocolate and accepting freewill donations for Blue Valley. The Chamber is happy to have an outlet for these organizations that do so much in our community.

There are some activities that will be continuous throughout the evening and a few that have specific times. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be receiving children and families for the second year in their new “housing digs.” Kiddos will be given a small snack of milk and cookies after they have had their all-important chat with Santa. The horse drawn wagons will be making their way through Downtown during the evening. The Blue River Express will be gassed up and ready to roll for the kids’ train rides. Face painting will take place at Mr Dukes Mercantile (north side of the courthouse on Sixth Street). Judy and her crew have been offering this fun activity for the past couple years and festival goers really look forward to face painting. A new activity has been planned for the kids at Wagner’s Decorating/Isaiah’s Toybox. The crew will assist kids into the Toy Test Lab and Workshop. This is a great way for kids to experience new toys along with past favorites this holiday season.

In addition to the continuous activities, the evening is packed with entertainment. Baer’s Furniture has set aside two times to have children come in for Story Time. Bring the family in at 5:15 or 6:15 p.m., and listen to stories read aloud. York Dance Center will get the crowd energized at 5:30 p.m., as they take the “stage” on Sixth Street. The students have been preparing and practicing for several events and they are excited to share some of their show with us.

The evening air will be filled with the sounds of Christmas carols performed by the York High School Chamber Singers at 5:55 p.m. We are always impressed with the level of talent the students have. Beginning at 6:10 p.m., the dancers from Kirby’s School of Dance will delight the crowd with their talented moves and giant smiles. These students spend hours preparing for performances and are ready to dazzle the audience.

The highly anticipated Ball Drop will take place at 6:45 p.m. There will be a drop zone on Sixth street and multiple aerial trucks and operators will assist with the drop. There will be over 500 numbered balls that can be redeemed at local businesses throughout the holiday season. Again this year, we will have four golden balls that must be redeemed that night. The Golden Balls are worth $25 each! We will be respectfully asking those that are attending to please leave boxes and umbrellas at home. This is for the safety of everyone there to enjoy the Jolly Ball Drop. The evening will conclude with the very popular dollar movie at Sun Theatre at 7:15 p.m. Bring the family to “The Santa Clause” and experience all the new changes that have taken place at the theatre.

The Holiday Festival is such a great way to kick off the season here in York and it is made possible by generous sponsors. I want to take this opportunity to thank Central Valley Ag, York County Visitors Bureau, Nebraska Public Power District, Once Upon A Dream, Green Realty & Auction, House Stars Cleaning, KOOL 103.5/104.9 Max, Kerry’s Restaurant & Catering, Mogul’s Auto Repair & Towing, Scott Hourigan Co., TLS Construction, Triple Crown Boutique, Urgent Care of York, York Ace Hardware, York Dental Arts Clinic, and York Surgical/York Cosmetics.

As we all prepare to spend time with our families over the Thanksgiving holiday, I do hope it is a blessed time for everyone. Taking the time to be with family is the most important thing that we all can do for each other.

We would like to be part of your family’s relaxation time on Saturday, Nov. 30. The Chamber invites you to come and Shop Small in York! There are several businesses participating in the national campaign to Shop Small on Nov. 30. The Chamber Staff will be set up outside our offices serving popcorn and hot cider to shoppers. Shoppers will be rewarded with a gift bag when they make purchases at our local stores and boutiques (while supplies last). The bags contain gift cards to local merchants to reward and enhance your holiday shopping experience. The day is a fun, relaxing day for you to take time inside the stores and be assisted by the staff members. The remarkable front-end staff at our local shops have a knack with assisting people in selecting the perfect gift.

I look forward to seeing everyone tonight at Chances R from 5 – 7 as we celebrate area educators during the popular Business After Hours event. The Educator of the Year will be announced prior to the drawings for raffle prizes. This event is always a great time for business and education communities are given to get together. ringing groups together is always a great way to continue to grow our community! #whatsyoury

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