Lawrence Winterfest Is Back for the Holiday Season
Photography Provided by Amy Payne & the City of Lawrence
Lawrence Winterfest is back for the second year in a row, providing families with whimsical outdoor activities that started on November 20. The season-long event brings the holiday fun with live music, vendors and ice skating at Civic Plaza, located at 5710 Lawrence Village Parkway.
“In previous years we held Lawrence Christmas,” says Cori Korn, deputy chief of staff for the City of Lawrence. “Last year, with the addition of our ice skating rink, we changed the event to more of a seasonal event.”
On November 27 kids skate free from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Civic Plaza, thanks to sponsors Cohron’s Manufactured Homes and Ed Martin Automotive Group. A parade starts at 5 p.m., followed by a variety show at 6 p.m. emceed by Brian Wilkes of FOX59 and featuring Lawrence Township students. The tree lighting brings out a special guest that evening at 7 p.m. at Civic Plaza.
“That evening the skating rink will stay open until 8 p.m., but if families need to get out of the cold they can go over to Theater at the Fort for a special viewing of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at 7 p.m.,” Korn says.
Each weekend live music will serenade ice skaters and event participants. The lineup includes the Dickens Carolers, Jennifer Mlott, The 38th Infantry Division Band, and The Midtown Mad Men, among others to be determined. The Dickens Carolers perform Christmas music in authentic 19th-century costumes.
Local vendors including food trucks will be on hand with hot chocolate and snacks to keep guests warm and toasty during the winter weather.
On December 4 children can have breakfast with Santa at the Benjamin Harrison YMCA on Lee Road. Families can enjoy a hearty breakfast and dine with the jolly old man himself. The Winter Market will also be held that day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Theater at the Fort will host several events that weekend, including Peewinkle puppet shows.
The Letters to Santa Mailbox is open and ready for children to mail their wish lists directly to Santa at the North Pole.
New this year is the Winter Solstice Walk on December 21, celebrating the start of the winter season.
“The event will start at the Sterrett Center where participants will make a lantern, hear a story about winter solstice, and then walk to Civic Plaza and have hot chocolate at the tree,” Korn says.
Greeting Card Lane showcases holiday cheer from local businesses. Cards will be displayed along the median on 56th Street from Friday, November 19 through New Year’s Day.
“This is a great way for local businesses and organizations to get involved,” Korn says. “They will each create a holiday greeting card out of a piece of plywood.”
Businesses in the area are encouraged to decorate their spaces festively, helping others feel the season’s magic. From November 20 through December 31, patrons can vote for the most festive business of the season. A People’s Choice Award will recognize the business selected by the community.
The skating rink is available to rent for holiday parties, and volunteers are still needed to work the counter.
“People can rent the rink for private holiday parties or events,” Korn says. “There is a great opportunity for nonprofits to work the rink and receive a donation for their time.”
Korn was pleased with the turnout for last year’s event, even with COVID-19 restrictions and concerns.
“Last year exceeded our expectations,” she says. “As we look forward, we know it’s going to be even better this year. Winterfest has something for everybody, whether that be coming out and watching others skate or skating yourself. People can come out and be part of the tree lighting. The event kicks off a great season of giving. It takes holiday traditions and takes them to the next level. We are so excited about expanding Winterfest, and continuing to watch the family-fun event grow and be a true holiday stopping point for our local families.”
For more information and a complete list of times and performances, go to visitlawrenceindiana.com/events/winterfest.