In the retail world, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. It’s when many businesses go from running in the red to making a profit.
In London, it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving that holds significance, when red and green are the colors that matter.
That’s right. It’s time for the 15th annual Old Fashioned Christmas on Main Street in downtown London. The evening starts with Lights of Love at Madison County Hospital at 5:30 p.m. and ends with the tolling of church bells at 8:30. A whole lot of holiday fun is scheduled in between.
Lights of Love
The night of Nov. 26 kicks off with a tree lighting ceremony on the front lawn of Madison County Hospital. Pastor Steve Rodgers of First United Methodist Church in London is the featured speaker; the church’s youth choir will sing. Then, it’s on with the lights.
Each of the last 18 years, the Madison County Hospital Auxiliary and Foundation have raised money for hospital programs by selling white lights on the giant blue spruce and lighted signs next to pine trees that line the hospital’s drive. Participants can honor or remember loved ones with their contributions. This year, proceeds with go to the hospital’s breast care initiative.
"People can look for something a little different since this year’s project is breast cancer," said Kelly Snyder, Foundation coordinator, hinting that pink lights could be part of the display.
Snyder made special mention of the work that London Correctional Institution inmates and staff members do to prepare the display. The crew puts up the posts for the pines, installs the lighted signs, and runs the electricity.
Starting with Old Fashioned Christmas night, the trees will be lit each night through Dec. 31.
Shelter House Dedication
At 5:45, Santa and his reindeer (actual live reindeer) will help to dedicate the new shelter house at Cowling Park on North Main Street.
The 40×50 square-foot shelter replaces one built in 1969 by the London Kiwanis Club. The new structure cost $111,000. Senator Steve Austria and State Rep. Chris Widener secured $75,000 in state capital funds for the project. The remaining cost was covered by a formula grant and city matching funds.
London Street Department employees worked with local subcontractors to complete the project. Those involved were Bill Cain’s Concrete, Brewer Plumbing and Tony Ridenour Electric.
At the dedication, London Mayor David Eades, Safety-Service Director Steve Hume and Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Ladd will speak. Representatives of Austria and Widener’s office also may be present.
Santa and Carriage Rides
When the shelter house dedication is done, the reindeer will stay in the park and Santa will head to the center of town for a 6 p.m. flag-raising ceremony at the corner of First and Main streets. The Color Guard of London’s American Legion Post 105 will do the honors. Members of the London High School band will provide music.
Starting at 6:15 p.m., Santa will spend the rest of the evening listening to children’s Christmas wishes at Huntington Bank.
The flag-raising ceremony signals the start of free carriage rides up and down Main Street. The pick-up and drop-off points are Frames By Choice on South Main and Cowling Park on North Main.
This year’s carriage sponsors include Downtown London, Merchants National Bank, MTB, ReMax, First United Methodist Church, Los Mariachis, Arbors at London, Piccadillies, Kronk & Scaggs, Hunt’s Jewelry, Chaney & Thomas, and Mabe’s Clothing and Sporting Goods.
Every year, a wide variety of music acts volunteer to perform at various locations along Main Street. Their schedule is as follows:
6 p.m.—The Music Men quartet, strolling and singing; London Middle School choir at Huntington Bank; Rosedale Bible College chorus at B&J Optical.
6:15 p.m.—London High School band at the Parks and Recreation office.
6:30 p.m.—Shiloh Music Academy’s string ensemble at the Madison County Courthouse; London Church of the Nazarene choir at B&J Optical; London High School concert choir at Huntington Bank; St. Patrick School ensemble at the parish center on East Second Street.
7 p.m.—London Elementary School choir at the courthouse; London First Baptist Church at B&J Optical; London Christian Fellowship Church choir at Dillion Realty; London High School signature choir at Huntington Bank.
7:30 p.m.—Jonathan Alder’s High Society choir at Advantage Bank.
8 p.m.—Binns and Gorman flute duo at Frames By Choice.
8:30 p.m.—St. Patrick Catholic Church and First United Methodist Church ring bells to end the evening.
Venues with Special Events
Businesses along Main Street will be open late to offer holiday shopping opportunities. Many also will serve refreshments and give away door prizes.
First United Methodist Church will be home to a soup and sandwich café, and invites families to dress in biblical costumes to have their pictures taken by the church’s nativity scene.
Trinity Episcopal Church will serve hot drinks and offer a warm place to enjoy fellowship.
London Grace Brethren Church will be the site at which to enjoy caroling, family activities and treats.
For more information about London’s Old Fashioned Christmas, call Ryan Ladd, director of London Parks and Recreation, at 740-852-4462 or London Mayor David Eades at 740-852-3243.