Our Opinion: Downtown dressed in holiday style

“City sidewalks busy sidewalks/Dressed in holiday style.”

— “Silver Bells” song lyrics

A feeling of Christmas certainly will be in the air this weekend as downtown sidewalks bustle with revelers enjoying Living Windows, the Christmas Parade and Mansion Candlelight Tours.

Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Rotary Centennial Park with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. The event includes performances by the Show-Me Brass Band and Helias Catholic High School Choir before Mayor Eric Struemph and his family light the tree at 6:30 p.m. The park is located at the Bolivar Street overlook of the Missouri River.

Living Windows from 6-9 p.m. Friday continues to expand, in both territory and attendance. The event traces its origins to singers, dancers and theatrical groups performing in storefronts in two downtown blocks. This year’s event extends east to Adams Street and into the 300 blocks of both Madison and Jefferson streets. In addition, hayrides will travel west around the Capitol’s circular drive.

Again this year, youngsters will be welcomed at Hawthorn Bank’s annual Christmas party featuring Santa Claus and at the News Tribune Candy Cane House on the courthouse lawn.

Also from 6-9 p.m. Friday, and resuming from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, candlelight tours will be conducted on the main level of the Governor’s Mansion. Visitors will enjoy the historic holiday decor, while choirs lining the circular staircase perform Christmas carols.

Festivities conclude Saturday with the annual Christmas Parade through the downtown area. The parade, hosted by the Jaycees, begins at 4:30 p.m. The parade begins at the Truman Building parking lot, travels along High Street and returns along Capitol Avenue.

“I’ll be home for Christmas,” is the parade theme this year.

In addition, the downtown will be bedecked with new holiday lights, a $15,000 project made possible by the Downtown Association’s business and community members.

The festivities, as the song lyrics remind us, are designed to bring people together in a spirit of: “Children laughing/People passing/Meeting smile after smile.”

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