GREENWOOD - Christmas celebrations in one of the big cities in the River Valley will get even more cheer this year.
Greenwood will hold its inaugural Christmas party at the event grounds on Monday. Residents can go out to the town square and take part in a variety of festivities leading up to the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade at 7pm.
Casey Craig, the city’s parks director, said Christmas in the Square is the start of the holiday season aimed at bringing the community together in celebration after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber has sponsored a Christmas parade for years, but Monday’s event will be the first to feature a number of activities beforehand.
Craig said the Department of Parks and Recreation has asked several local vendors to serve food and drink to residents starting at 5 p.m., including Bone’s Coffee Bar, Heavenly Sensations Gourmet Cookies, Molly’s Eggrolls, Sally’s Sweets, Simply Smoked, Southern Sippin’ and Taqueria San Antonio. .
Jeremy Lensing, owner and operator of Simply Smoked, said his food truck will pull ham sandwiches, potato chips and smoked pickles in stock. Lensing is originally from Greenwood.
“I’ve always enjoyed going to parades and thought, ‘Well, if I can go down there and be a part of it, and while people are waiting to watch they can get something good to eat, it would kind of kill two birds with one stone,'” Lensing said.
Mayor Doug Kinslow will kick off the festivities at 6 p.m. by lighting a display of lights in the city square, Craig said.
“We have a very big Christmas tree that’s 24 feet tall, and that’s kind of the centerpiece of the field, and it’ll light up all at once,” Craig said.
This will be followed at 6:20 p.m. by students from Greenwood schools, including East Pointe and Westwood Elementary Schools, East Hills Middle School and Greenwood Junior High School, singing Christmas carols. Craig estimated that 100 students were expected to perform. Residents will also be able to meet and take pictures with Santa Claus from 5:30 pm until shortly before the parade begins.
Chamber’s executive director Bob Purvis said the parade will start from Greenwood High School on Main Street and through City Square. You will be entered by individuals, businesses and groups from the community. Candy will be thrown to the children present.
“Our theme this year is Christmas in our hometown,” said Purvis. “We’re reviewing what a small town, traditional Christmas looks like.”
Purvis said that the Chamber asked people to donate toiletry items to enter the show, in lieu of money. These items will be collected for the school district’s Parent Center, which will then distribute them to families in need. However, the same entries will be eligible for prize money in different categories.
Purvis said the chamber will also host free bean and cornbread lunches from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in its field office.
“Greenwood’s official motto is ‘Feel Home’, and the community Christmas parade in which everyone gathers together for a wonderful December evening to have a good time and share with their neighbors says everything as far as we think it is important to Greenwood,” said Purvis. “It’s a great place to live, and having community events is a big part of what makes Greenwood such a great place to live.”
Craig said Christmas in the Square will be rescheduled to December 12 if the event is canceled due to inclement weather on Monday. He urged residents to watch the Parks and Recreation Facebook page for updates on the matter.