Thanksgiving is now officially behind us and it's time to kick off the next holiday season.
For Lockportians, that starting point is Light Up Lockport.
The full day of Christmas festivities will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Palace Theatre with the Tacky Sweater 5k Run, while spectators can enjoy free hot chocolate at Bonjour Crepes.
From noon to 3 p.m., the Palace will hold free showings of the Christmas comedy Elf; horse and carriage rides will embark from the palace; the Lockport City Fire Department will offer tours; and Lockport Main Street will hold its Small Business Saturday Shop Lockport Welcome Party at the historic post office, 1 East Ave.
At the party, Lockport Main Street will distribute its "Shop Lockport Passport." Every time a shopper spends at least $5 at five of 39 participating businesses, he or she will be entered into a drawing. The grand prize is a package of gift certificates for every participating business, valued at about $500.
Jessica Dittly, program director of Lockport Main Street, has said studies show 67 cents of every dollar spent at small businesses is reinvested in the local community.
“When you buy a gift at a local shop, you’re not only getting a gift for someone you love, you’re investing in your local community," Dittly said.
Residents and visitors shouldn't have a hard time getting fed during that afternoon. Papa Leo's will offer free pizza from 1 to 2 p.m., Windsor Village will offer donut decorating and cider, the Penalty Box sports bar will offer cookie decorating, and Emmanuel Methodist Church will have cookies and cocoa, along with music and crafts, at its free nativity scene.
Free ice skating at Cornerstone Arena, from 1 to 3 p.m., and Santa Claus at the Palace Theatre stage from 2 to 4 p.m. will round out the afternoon.
The Light Up Lockport parade will disembark from Ida Fritz Park at 6 p.m. and follow Main Street to the Palace. The community tree lighting on the palace marquee will cap the parade at 6:45 p.m., followed by performances by Lock City Sounds and the Dylan Mulvey Dance Academy. A free showing of the Polar Express will finish the festivities at 7:20 p.m. at the theatre.
The theatre will keep the holiday magic flowing in the following weeks, with the Scrooge the Musical returning for its 16th year from Dec. 6-8.