By Chrysa Keenon | Echo
On Dec. 3, Upland will host the 25th annual Christmas tree lighting. The lighting will take place in Depot Park, followed by a downtown open house which includes children's crafts, snacks, music and an artisan fair.
According to president of the Our Town Upland Committee Charity Bailey, this ceremonial event is traditional for those who live in town. Members of Taylor administration have been asked to participate in the past, as President Emeritus Eugene and First Lady Marylou Habecker have previously been the ones to light the tree, according to an Echo article written in 2015.
However, in celebration of the 25th anniversary, Bailey said the committee wanted to make a bigger event to draw more attraction. The tree lighting will take place at 5 p.m. Following this, businesses in the downtown area will be open and decorated for Christmas, serving free snacks and hosting performances.
Businesses will be handing out various coupons. There will be a showing of "It's a Wonderful Life" in Upland Town Hall. Children will have the opportunity to explore firetrucks in the firehouse. A small train will have a route around town for children and adults to enjoy. Additionally, a scavenger hunt will take place throughout the night. Participants will receive a map marking each participating business and can gather stamps from participating businesses to receive a prize.
Bailey said the goal for this "Downtown Open House" is to raise awareness of the community and the town. It also gives a chance for residents to support local businesses and explore the downtown area.
"The idea is to bring people downtown, get people mingling in and out of the shops, that kind of thing," Bailey said.
Another goal is to get Taylor students involved in the event. Bailey recalled a time when she went to a similar event in a small college town and the event was filled with people so much that it was shoulder-to-shoulder. She holds similar hopes for the Upland event.
Committee member Kelly Yordy also wishes for a large turnout. She believes as long as there is good weather, a lot of residents will be willing to participate.
"I think there's a misconception that Upland residents don't want Taylor students to participate, and that is definitely not true," Yordy said. "For any Taylor students looking for a fun, easy way to participate in the local community, this is a great first event."