GILLESPIE–Featuring shopping opportunities, children’s activities and festive holiday decorations, Gillespie’s Holiday Sparkle will return to the downtown business district on Saturday, Dec. 17, according to members of the Holiday Sparkle Committee.
The reimagined Holiday Sparkle will be a day-long event starting with the arrival of Santa Clause at 9 a.m. at the gazebo located in Pomatto Memorial Park adjacent to the Gillespie Civic Center and concluding with a 5 p.m. lighted holiday parade on Macoupin Street.
The Civic Center also will be the location for free children’s crafts from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and face painting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other children’s activities will include a petting zoo from 9 a.m. to noon on the vacant lot next to Lumpy’s Bar and Grill, 208 S. Macoupin St., a holiday story time at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Gillespie Public Library, and a children’s Christmas movie in the Civic Center at 1 p.m.
Drawing on the traditions of European Christmas Markets, the Holiday Sparkle will feature a number of crafters and food vendors offering one-of-kind, hand-made gift items along Macoupin Street as well as food vendors offering sandwiches and holiday treats, including kettle korn and roasted nuts.
Event visitors may register at numerous locations for a chance to win one of up to 50 holiday hams donated by Gillespie Masonic Lodge 214 and Black Diamond Days. Registration sites will be marked by flyers in their windows.
Costumed Christmas characters will roam the length of the festival venue during the day and visitors can also take part in train rides up and down Macoupin Street. Visitors can make s’mores or get warmth from 1 to 5 p.m. near fire pits located near the community Christmas tree near at the intersection of Pine and Macoupin Streets where live music will be available during the same time period. Grow Gillespie’s Colonial Giving Garden will be the starting point for a 5K Santa Stampede at 3 p.m.
Ending the event will be a lighted Cruisin’ Into Christmas parade concluded with Santa. All participating vehicles must be decorated with lights and must be insured. Golf carts, ATVs or side-by-sides must be registered with the city. Line-up for the parade is at 4 p.m. on Macoupin Street near Moto Mart, and the parade will step off at 5 p.m.
For more information about the Holiday Sparkle, be sure to visit christmasingillespie.com or find the Gillespie Holiday Sparkle on Facebook.