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Holidays Downtown

Kick off the Holiday season with us in Historic Downtown St. Joseph, MO on Saturday, December 1!

Last year’s Holidays at the Square was a huge success and well attended. Downtown First (Formerly First Saturdays) continues to move forward.  And this year’s Holidays Downtown, like downtown St Joseph itself, continues to grow.

This year, Holidays Downtown will recall a nostalgic feel of holidays past when downtown St. Joseph was lit up for the season. Lighted building exteriors, lighted snowflakes on lamp posts and magical window displays will welcome return and first-time visitors.

“Downtown First has come a long way in the last 5 years. What began as a special event the First Saturday of each month (put on by a couple of businesses) has grown to include more than 30 businesses each month for First Saturday’s and an ever-expanding menu of special events – from the November Art & Wine Walk, Holidays Downtown in December, Hunt for the Leprechaun in March, Discover Downtown following the Apple Blossom Parade in May and the August Wine Walk & Murder Mystery. We are adding new events for 2019 as we grow and expand the Downtown community.”

— Cris Coffman, Owner of Nesting Goods Home Decor, 817 Francis & President of the Downtown First Board:

We are beginning a new, annual tradition of placing a large, artificial, decorated tree in the heart of downtown – Felix St. Square – and lighting up the gazebo, park trees and the streets around the square. The decorations will remain up through New Year’s Day and the expectation is to welcome thousands of visitors throughout the month of December to shop, eat, drink and enjoy the lights.

The kickoff is Saturday, Dec. 1st from 6 – 9 PM, starting with a short parade followed by the flipping of the switch to turn on the tree & lights.

Family-Friendly Activities

There will be several family-friendly activities including:

  • Santa’s arrival (visit him after at Gallery Deli, 107 S. 6th St)
  • Two horse-drawn carriages offering free rides
  • Free hot cocoa in the concession stand
  • Face painting
  • Ornament making
  • Cookie & cupcake decorating
  • And a variety of children’s activities at the eclectic shops & businesses

There will be maps available in the park showing where all the activities are.

Other Activities

The beautiful United Building Ballroom, 602 Felix St., will host a holiday card stop where members of the public may write a thank you or word of cheer to deployed troops and those residing in veterans’ homes. The cards will be provided and delivered with the help of the Red Cross. There will be photo ops in Christmas settings, Carolers singing & children’s activities. Each of the large display windows at United Building will feature vintage displays like Candy Cane Lane, Gingerbread Houses, Toy Soldiers, The Nutcracker and a variety of themed Christmas trees. Local choirs will perform throughout the evening in Gazebo at Felix Street Square, with Under the Big Oak Tree headlining the evening’s entertainment beginning at 8PM.

Keeping the Holiday Spirit All Month Long

This year, in addition to the Holidays Downtown event on Dec. 1st, there will be activities & events throughout the month of December to encourage people to come downtown and check out all the restaurants, shops and activities.

How Funding Was Raised

The Downtown Holiday Experience is a collaborative project spearheaded by Downtown First and the Downtown Association. $50,000 has been raised including $10,000 from the City via the Hotel/Motel Tax, $5,000 from the CID, $5,000 from the Downtown Association and $4,500 from Downtown First. In addition, each of the other Downtown Partnership members have contributed: Mosaic, Buchanan County and the Chamber of Commerce. The remaining balance has come from downtown business owners and community crowdfunding. All in all 150 different donors have contributed to this program.

Many business owners, building owners, corporate sponsors and community volunteers are participating to make this happen.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you would like to volunteer to help at the event, help decorate, sponsor a tree or a window, or make a donation please contact Laura Wyeth at laurajwyeth@gmail.com or (816) 387-6899. We will continue to add events for the month of December. To keep informed and plan your time downtown, follow Downtown First on Facebook and check out our website at downtownfirst.org for updated events and links to all the downtown businesses.

Whether you’re a regular guest downtown or it’s your first time, join us for Holidays Downtown this December.

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