For more than 25 years, the Christmas spirit has made an early appearance in downtown Mount Pleasant.
Friday and Saturday, the tradition will continue with a weekend full of holiday cheer with the Dickens’ Christmas Festival, designed to thank those who give so much over the course of the year.
“It gives a sense of community for us,” Downtown Development Director Michelle Sponseller said. “What we find is that multiple generations come back year after year.”
Throughout the weekend, guests can take a horse-drawn carriage around town and stop to visit Santa and his reindeer at Santa’s house at the Town Center, she said.
There will be a nativity scene with live animals and carolers at the corner of Broadway and University and a performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life” by the Broadway Theatre, 216 E. Broadway St., at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Jack Westbrook will hold a book signing of his book, “At Home in Earlier Mount Pleasant, Michigan,” at the Book Garden, 114 S. Main St., both nights.
Snowplows painted by local junior high and high school artists decorate the corner of Franklin and Broadway, Sponseller said.
Throughout the weekend, more than 20 musical groups will perform, including Central Michigan University’s vocal assemble, she said.
Those who attend will have the chance to go to a pancake breakfast with Santa Claus Saturday morning at Sacred Heart Parish Hall, 302 S. Kinney Blvd., and make crafts at Candy Cane Lane in the Chippewa River District Library, 301 S. University St.
“CMU students are welcome,” Sponseller said. “The more the merrier.”
Art Reach Executive Director Kathy Hill said the store, 111 E. Broadway St., which hosts about 200 Michigan artists, will have a children’s make-and-take project Saturday.
Throughout the weekend, Hill said Art Reach will have live music playing in the store, keeping guests in the holiday spirit.
“It’s one of those events that builds community, and it’s just a wonderful family-friendly event that can bring a ton of people,” she said. “It’s a great memory maker.”
The weekend will commence with a lighted Christmas parade at 6 p.m. followed by a Christmas Acoustic Brew held at the Grace Church, 218 S. Main St., where guests can enjoy free hand-roasted coffee and entertainment as part of the CMU live concert series.