Christmas in the Village

by Barney Quick
photo by Debbie Dunbar

Sporting the theme “Christmas in the Village,” this year’s Nashville holiday season promises to be full of sparkle and delight. A diverse group of people have collaborated to see that the visitor and the local alike can find both enchantment and great deals in shopping, lodging, dining, and entertainment. From dancing lights and singing snowflakes to open houses at artists’ studios to drawings for prizes, it’s shaping up to be memorable indeed.

The lights will be the first indicator that the community is feeling festive. Van Buren Street, from Coachlight Square to the Visitors Center, will be illumined with permanent LED bulbs paid for by donations and sponsors. There will be three Christmas trees at Coachlight Square, six, eight, and ten feet tall, respectively, decorated with lights that are not only animated but that sing as well (that is, they respond in their lighting pattern to recorded music). Antique Alley will likewise be festooned with singing snowflakes and stars hanging in its trees.
Then there’s the Tree Walk on the courthouse lawn. Designscape is donating fifteen trees. Their lights will be strung by the Christmas in the Village Committee, and their decorations are being furnished by area non-profit groups.

Debbie Dunbar, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is gratified to see the wide spectrum of people who have stepped up to be involved on the committee. “A lot of good people have offered ideas,” she says. “Merchants, artists, and the lodging properties are all involved.” Local realtor Bob Kirlin, for instance, conceived the Tree Walk.

Cathy Martin of Toy Chest came up with an idea, a passport, which will do much to make Christmas in the Village a cohesive project. Shoppers get sections of a Christmas tree sketch on a card, each representing a value of a certain number of dollars, stamped as they spend money with participating merchants. Once a card is filled up, the shopper is eligible for a drawing. The drawing will be based on the twelve days of Christmas, that is, one person will be selected for a prize on December 26, two people on December 27, and so on. The grand prize winner will receive $500 in cash and a Brown County getaway.

Area hotels and restaurants will be offering specials during Christmas in the Village. Many merchants will display window decorations and 2’ x 4’ Christmas cards, and offer extended store hours. An additional feature of the passport is that it enables shoppers to vote for their favorite window decorations and Christmas cards.

Of course, children will find much to get excited about during Christmas in the Village. Santa Claus will arrive at noon on November 28 and hold forth at the courthouse, surrounded by trees, pending final approval, through December 21.

Enticements to make a multi-day stay out of Christmas in the Village are being geared toward “girlfriends,” groups of ladies who enjoy combining social time with shopping. “Women are the chief decision-makers in many things this time of year,” says Dunbar, “so it’s important to reach them.” There has been some television promotion, as well as advertisements in regional magazines such as Ohio and Midwest Living and newspapers in Louisville and Cincinnati.

The Committee is in the process of booking musical acts and other performers for various times throughout the weeks of Christmas in the Village. It has contacted several area churches and schools about having their choirs participate. The planners still hope to have other kinds of groups as well, and encourage any musical acts to contact them through the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We want to stress that this whole promotional effort is geared toward area residents as well as visitors,” says Dunbar. “They’re eligible for all the prizes. It’s all about family.”
For more information,
call (800) 313-4686 or visit