Christmas event in Square snowballs

Downtown Warren’s Christmas celebration promises to be bigger than before, but that’s not the most important adjective to describe it.

“We’re offering everything for free,” said Cherie Celedonia, assistant to the event coordinator. “People really like that. If you have a couple kids and have to spend 10 bucks on each one (to do everything), it’s hard.”

Christmas in the Square will offer a full slate of activities around Courthouse Square from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, culminating with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree at 8 p.m. Celedonia said the event’s expansion was made possible through generous contributions.

“We just had so much great response from sponsors, businesses and organizations,” she said. “They really stepped up with support, both financially and in-kind donations …  Last year, it was this little itty bitty thing and this year, it’s just blossomed. It just snowballed.”

Five area schoolchildren will receive Spirit of Christmas Awards and will get to ride on the float with Santa Claus in the parade at 6:30 p.m. and help flip the switch for the Christmas tree.

“We sent out letters to all of the schools in Warren, asking them to nominate a child they feel has the spirit of Christmas all year long,” Celedonia said.

The winners will be announced at a press conference at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Live entertainment in the square will include the Warren G. Harding High School Madrigals and New Tomorrows, selections from “The Nutcracker” performed by Penn-Ohio Dance Center, the Warren City-Wide Youth Choir, the improv troupe from Kent State University at Trumbull and DJ Derrick Wray.

Children can visit with Santa Claus in the gazebo from 7 to 8 p.m., and free photographs with Santa (one per family) will be provided by The Frame Depot. Children also can write letters to Santa Claus at the log cabin and drop them in the mailbox out front.

Children ages 2 to 12 can participate in a Cookie Walk and receive sweet treats at the following locations: 5 Grands, Collective Palette Studios, Courthouse Grille, Trumbull Art Gallery, Best Western Park Hotel, Sew Cute, Nova Coffee Co., Saratoga Restaurant, Game Changers, Beautiful Whirl’d, RJ Wean Foundation, All American Cards & Comics, Classroom Yoga, Artistics, Trumbull Family Fitness, Kinsman House and Upton House.

The Girl Scouts will stage “Reindeer Games” for the children, and hands-on activities are planned at several sites in the downtown area.

Trumbull Art Gallery decided to coincide its holiday open house with the downtown celebration.

“When we do this, you’d be surprised how many people who live in Trumbull County and even work downtown who didn’t know we were here,” TAG Director Pat Galgozy said.

About 100 area artists sell their work in TAG’s gift shop through a consignment arrangement, and a 10 percent discount on all gift shop items will be offered from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.

The Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County’s trolley will be available to transports visitors to the different attractions.

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