5 ways to ring in the holidays

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Dennis Hines | November 22, 2015

 WALWORTH COUNTY--The holiday season can be a time to worry about shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping and a never-ending to-do list.

However, the holidays also can be a time to enjoy the beauty of the season with decorated Christmas trees, lighted houses and storefronts, the aroma of hot chocolate and, of course, Santa Claus greeting children as they scurry to meet the jolly old elf.

If you're looking for a way to bolster your holiday spirit, there's plenty of seasonal events to enjoy around the area:


1. Elkhorn Christmas kickoff, Dec. 4-5

Holiday festivities in Elkhorn, also known as the Christmas Card Town, officially begin Friday, Dec. 4. A tree-lighting ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. in the downtown square. A reception with Santa and Mrs. Claus will be held from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Matheson Memorial Library. The reception will include craft projects and treats.

 “It's a nice thing for the community,” said Jenna Gough, executive assistant at the Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Center. “Children can come and have their picture taken with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.”

The holiday excitement continues with the 34th annual parade, set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in downtown Elkhorn. The parade will feature floats, bands, novelty acts and a return visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“We have local groups and businesses participating in the parade,” Gough said.

“It's been a tradition for a lot of families,” she said. “A lot of people remember going to the parade when they were children. Because it's the holiday season, it seems to bring everyone together.”


2. Victorian Christmas, Dec. 4, Sharon

Holiday enthusiasts can step into the past at the 20th annual Victorian Christmas, which will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, in downtown Sharon.

The event will include a visit from Victorian Santa, a tree-lighting ceremony, horse-drawn carriage rides, Victorian dancers, magic shows, cowboy re-enactors, a chuck wagon food stop, dog-sledding demonstrations and lighted horse-drawn carriage parade.

For more information, call Historic Downtown Sharon at 262-736-6246.


3. Lake Geneva electric parade, Dec. 5

Walworth County residents are being asked to sport their red noses to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Great Electric Children's Christmas Parade, which will be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in downtown Lake Geneva.

The parade will begin near Williams and Marshall streets, then will travel south on Broad Street, west on Main Street and conclude north on Cook Street. The parade will be led by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer himself.

“We're encouraging people and their kids to put on their red nose,” said Nancy Elder, event manager for the Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce. “I'm hoping it will be a great opportunity for people to get into the holiday season.”

The purpose of the red nose theme is to celebrate diversity, Elder said.

“It's really about celebrating what makes people different and what makes people special,” she said. “It's about accepting everyone. That's one of the things I love about the theme.”

Complimentary red noses are available at participating businesses, some of which are really getting into the spirit, Elder said.

“There's a number of businesses taking photos of their staff wearing the red noses and promoting it online and trying to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the parade,” Elder said. “A lot of people are excited about it.”

Besides the red noses, the parade will feature lighted floats, marching bands, Clydesdale horses, fire trucks and a visit from Santa.

“There's a variety of schools, businesses and organizations involved with the parade,” Elder said.

The chamber of commerce works on the parade throughout the year; however, they get help from the city, the fire department, the police department and local businesses and organizations.

The parade is a popular holiday event each year.

“We have people who come from throughout Walworth County and from surrounding areas,” Elder said.

Because a big crowd is expected, parking will not be allowed after 3 p.m. on the west side of Broad Street and the north side of Main Street. Additional parking will be available at Town Bank, 567 Broad St., and BMO Harris Bank, 410 Broad St.

“There will be no parking in those areas to make room for floats, fire trucks and other large vehicles,” Elder said.

For more information about the Great Electric Children's Christmas Parade, go to lakegenevaevents.com/parade.


4. East Troy Electric Railroad Christmas

Express, weekends

The East Troy Electric Railroad's Christmas Express will run weekends, Nov. 28-29, Dec. 5-6, Dec. 12-13 and Dec. 19-20. Rides begin at 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m.

The 45-minute, round-trip train rides will depart from the East Troy depot, 2002 Church St., and travel to Santa's workshop at the Elegant Farmer.

The train rides will include Christmas carols, stories and a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Once at the workshop, children will work on craft projects, enjoy cookies and hot chocolate and have their picture taken with Santa.

For more information, call 262-642-3263 or go online to easttroyrr.org.


5. Delavan Dance

Factory 'Nutcracker,' Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 19

Delavan Dance Factory will present “The Nutcracker” on Saturdays, Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, at Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E. Geneva St. in Delavan.

The dance group will host “The Nutcracker” again at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at Young Auditorium, located on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus, at 930 W. Main St. For more information, call 262-728-3017.


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