By Pete Dulin
The holiday season kicks off in Downtown Belton on November 27, Small Business Saturday, and continues with a series of events over six weeks to highlight businesses and promote hometown spirit in Downtown Belton.
The Mayor’s Christmas Tree and Main Street Lighting Spectacular takes place, 7 pm, November 27, at Central Bank of the Midwest, 204 Main. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and North Pole reindeer will join Mayor Norman Larkey for the lighting ceremony. “Main Street will be lit up with nearly $70,000 worth of Christmas lights sponsored by Downtown Belton Main Street, Inc.,” says Diane Huckshorn, executive director of the Belton Chamber of Commerce.
Starting at 5 pm, the public can participate in raffles and nosh on free hot dogs at Belton Fire Station 1, 223 Main. The Main Street Light Parade, featuring vehicles festooned with holiday lights, kicks off at 5:30 pm at 2nd and Hackberry Streets. Family-friendly festivities include a canned goods drive, toy drive, and live entertainment.
Other attractions include a six-foot-tall nutcracker figure, a seven-foot-tall talking tree, carolers, Main Street Performing Arts Center dancers, and food trucks. Streets along the Main Street corridor will be closed after 5 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings from November 26 through January 8. The public is encouraged to walk and explore local businesses and activities.
“The goal is to bring awareness to our community and help small businesses on Main Street. Growth in the past five years has been exponential,” says Huckshorn. “We want to bring thousands of people to Downtown Belton. Promoting is second nature to what we do.”
Downtown merchants decorate for a window display competition
Downtown Belton Main Street, Inc. has committed to this holiday promotion and celebration for the next three years. Event coordinator Michelle Mellinger says, “We want to make this an annual tradition. It’s a passion for both of us. We want to make Belton be the best it can be.”
Other events include:
- Mary’s Mountain Cookies gingerbread house kit competition.
- Community Ugly Sweater Contest, 400 Main), on Friday, December 10, 7 pm.
- The T&T Band will play Saturday, December 11, at Broken Hatchet Brewing.
- Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 18, 8-11:30 am, at Tara’s Cafe and Malt Shop, 401 Main. Call 816-331-0156 to reserve space.
- Christmas Wreath Silent Auction at Tara’s Cafe through November 27th, where people may view and bid on wreaths created by artists, merchants, and other creative elves.
- Outdoor movies at Candy Cane Lane, 300 block of Main St., are planned along with a non-denominational night of prayer on December 21st.
- “The Santa Diaries” performance at the Main Street Theater, each weekend December 3 – 19 .
- The Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad will feature Holiday Express excursions the first two weekends in December.
Shoppers may behold holiday window displays from participating Main Street businesses. A Judges Choice Award and Peoples Choice Award for a winning display will be designated on Monday, December 20. The public can vote on their favorite windows by offering donations to Operation Santa in specially-designated containers in participating stores.
Shopping at Main Street businesses is a key aspect of the six-week-long festivities.
This holiday season is the first for owner Susan Comeau’s boutique The Wild Poppy, 425 Main St. which opened in January this year. The boutique sells one-of-a-kind pieces, clothing, local handmade jewelry, Fair Trade products, and U.S.-made goods as well as offering craft paints, classes, and demonstrations. “We have 15 local artisans who bring in handmade or upcycled items,” says Comeau.
Being part of Downtown Belton, especially with the hometown feel of the holidays, matters to Comeau, who says, “It has been so rewarding to help grow and bring something new to Main Street.”
Follow @christmasonmainbelton on Facebook for updates and details.