Dickens' Christmas attracts hundreds to downtown Mount Pleasant

Jeffrey Smith/Staff Photographer 4-year-old Cash Nitwiller gets a candy cane from Santa Claus (Larry Curtis) Friday evening during the Dickens Christmas Festival in the Town Center.

He sat wide-eyed with his Spider-Man shoes dangling, holding a Styrofoam cup full of hot chocolate.

Cash Litwiller, 4, perched on his uncle’s lap during a hayride and asked his aunt: “Where’s my gloves?”

Not far from Cash, a mother held her six-month-old daughter close while the cold air breezed past as the tractor drove the streets.

The damp, cold air indeed brought families closer during the Dickens' Christmas Festival this weekend in downtown Mount Pleasant.

Plus, many kids saw Santa Claus and reindeer.

Litwiller nodded when asked if he was looking forward to seeing Santa, then sipped his hot chocolate.

“It’s just his second time seeing Santa, so he’s very excited for it,” Litwiller’s aunt Hannah Townsend said.

On Saturday, hundreds of people lined Main and Broadway streets to see the different floats featuring Santa. The parade also included tractors, ambulances and vehicles covered with Christmas lights. People who marched in the parade threw candy to the kids nearest the middle of the street, and they scrambled for peppermints and candy canes.

Downtown businesses opened their doors to carolers and live music. Some gave away free hot chocolate. There were horse carriage and hay rides. Papa’s Pumpkin Patch, 3909 S. Summerton Road, donated the tractor and trailer used to give hay rides during the annual autumn Applefest.

The hay ride went south on Washington Street to Bellows Street, then over to Main Street and back downtown. It loaded and unloaded in front of Marty’s Bar, 123 S. Main St.

The tractor’s driver, Paul Dean, said he drove about six or seven miles combined Friday and Saturday. He said he expected to drive at least twice that after the parade Saturday night.

The riders saw many houses along the route, decorated inside and out with lights.

“We’ve probably had about 400 to 500 people so far,” Dean said.

Isabella Bank and Trust, 139 E. Broadway St., hosted a bell choir and flute choir that performed one after the other. People quietly fed through the front entrance and craned their necks to see the performance. During the bell choir’s last song, "Silent Night," the audience was encouraged to sing along, which many did.

A live nativity scene across the street from Isabella Bank and Trust gave people the opportunity to pet a donkey and goats.


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