A Christmas remembered and renewed
By Janelle Morrison
I remember as a youth, my family would pile up in our Dodge Grand Caravan and traverse “all the way” to the Watts Christmas Tree Farm and Sparkle Shop that was located on Hunt Club Road in Zionsville. My father would seek out the finest 16 foot tree while my siblings would be lost in our own wonderment inside the Sparkle Shop to see the collection of toys and toy trains.
We would drive into town, park in the old Hardee’s parking lot and walk down Main Street. Families and holiday shoppers would be entertained by carolers and stand in line to get their photos with Santa Claus inside the quaint “Santa House” ushered by his festive elves. The store fronts were adorned with an array of holiday decor, and the ambience embraced the very essence of a small town Christmas.
Years later, I am raising a family of my own in Zionsville and am proud to be part of an incredible group of individuals who felt the same level of passion and care to bring back some of the most cherished traditions while introducing new ideas for the next generation of Christmas in the Village goers. In typical form, local businesses and residents have come together to raise the necessary funds and awareness to build up what is to be a very special and renewed Christmas program in the Village this year.
The holiday season will officially “kick off” in downtown Zionsville the weekend following Thanksgiving Day. On November 30, residents and guests will be treated to a festival that includes many activities throughout the day. Shoppers and parade goers can complete their gift lists while shopping at the unique collection of stores. Also enjoy a variety of menus and hot beverages that are offered from the restaurants located amidst of the festivities in the Village.
Carriage rides by Blue River Carriage Company will run on parade day and on specified Saturdays that follow the opening ceremonies of Christmas in the Village. A trolley service will be available on the day of the parade and on additional designated dates following. For more details, visit the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce’s website or contact their office for the transportation schedules and routes.
As the crowds gather into town, they can expect to find seasonal decor along the cobbled street lamp posts, participating store fronts appointed with their own special touch of holiday splendor and the return of the enchanting “Santa House” that is being refurbished by two local businesses, Confectioneiress and Snider Group LLC.
Along with a group of volunteers, they will rebuild the house after having been stored for a period of time. Santa Claus will begin his visits and taking down the wishes from the children who will be able to visit him in the rejuvenated house. The house will be nestled in the courtyard of Serenity Tea Room on Main Street between Oak and Pine Streets.
A first for Zionsville this year is the combination of the traditional Christmas parade and the tree lighting. These two events were traditionally held on separate days and will be celebrated together under an entirely new program. Organized by the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce and members of the Chamber’s Downtown Committee, the parade will begin at 4:15 pm and the tree lighting of a magnificent live tree will occur later that evening at 6 pm.
The parade will include some treasured participants from past parades and some new groups that we hope to make annual traditions. The parade will be led into town by the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade favorites, The “Indianapolis 500” Gordon Pipers who will pipe their way down to The Friendly Tavern for an encore. The ZFD and ZPD will follow this year’s Grand Marshall, ESO, accompanied by his partner, Officer Wayde Knox. A member of the ZPD’s K-9 unit, this will be ESO’s first Christmas in Zionsville.
Parade goers will be entranced by the visions and voices of our invited parade participants including the choreographed steps of the InterActive Academy and Gymnastics students and the visual art of the Central Indiana Dance Ensemble’s (CIDE) characters from The Nutcracker. The CIDE will be performing The Nutcracker at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center. Contact their box office for performance details and dates. The Zionsville Community High School Marching Eagles will return to the Christmas parade led by the ZCSC Superintendent Dr. Scott Robison.
Special performances and special guests will also be on hand for the day’s parade and tree lighting. Special appearances by notable groups and individuals include Radio Disney’s Road Crew and Representative Steve Braun, just to name a few. Tom Britt, publisher of this magazine, has graciously agreed to be the emcee for the parade.
Local residents representing their neighborhoods along with their favorite four-legged friends will be marching along with rescue organizations and the Boone County Humane Society. Of course, a Christmas parade would not be complete without Santa himself who will be concluding the parade in majesty and grandeur.
The Trader’s Point Hunt Club, dressed in their formal hunting attire, will ride along with their fellow class of side saddle riders and follow the fox hounds who will be proudly leading their masters and mistresses to the conclusion of this historic parade.
Immediately following the parade, live entertainment and family activities will commence between Oak and Pine Streets. Guests can partake in multiple activities and get a chance to warm up and enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants before we light up the village. Following a musical performance from a local band and special announcements, the village businesses will light up their respective store fronts and windows counting down to the Christmas tree that will be located on the corners of Pine and Main Streets.
Zionsville, as it was remembered in the past, continues to be a mecca for those seeking nostalgia, to slow down the hands of time and be part of a memorable holiday moment with the ones they love.
On behalf of the organizers and my parade co-chair, Steve Schwartz, we invite you and your families to join us this holiday season and make merry on this day and during all of the activities and special events that are planned throughout the month of December.
For more information on the schedule of events and holiday calendar, visit the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce website at www.zionsvillechamber.org.