The third annual Christmas Celebration in Marion is scheduled for 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, and the event just continues to grow.
Businesses up and down Main St. — nearly 30 of them — will have guest artists, musicians, and Christmas displays, but the real star of the event will be at the Marion Community Center. Co-organizer Jeanice Thomas said there will be about 30 booths with arts, crafts, and food at the community center.
There will also be a children’s center in the west half of the Suffield’s building at the intersection of Main and 3rd Sts. The children’s center will include puppet shows by Mary Beth Bowers, Christmas stories read by Sue Peterson as Mrs. Claus, hot chocolate sold by Marion Middle School students, and stockings stuffed with treats for children, Thomas said.
This year the event has grown to include stops on the east half of Main St., up on the hill. Because of that, there will be a shuttle bus going between the hill and valley, Thomas said.
The finale of the event will be a parade at 4 p.m. downtown. Co-organizer Jan Davis estimated there were about 20 entries in the parade already scheduled including the middle school band.
“It’s really growing, and the committee is very active,” Thomas said. It has grown beyond the specialty shops that were its backbone the first two years.
Organizers are also coordinating the event with other goings-on in Marion. Marion City Library will have its Christmas home tour fundraiser Sunday, and stops on it will be included on maps for the Christmas Celebration, Thomas said.
After the day’s events are done, residents and visitors alike can drive to Marion County Park and Lake for the annual tunnel of lights.
“Everything is falling into place really well,” Thomas said.
Organizers are already looking ahead to future events. Thomas said she has had contact with groups and businesses in Hillsboro, Peabody, and Florence that are interested in working with the Marion celebration.