Reindeer, gingerbread house new to this year’s holiday festival

November 16, 2018

Expect the city sidewalks to be busy next week.

Downtown businesses are preparing for Black Tuesday and the annual Riverpoint Christmas Festival, which is set for Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Event coordinator Jessica Gordon said Norfolk Avenue is beginning to look a lot like Christmas this week in preparation for this year’s festival, which will feature past favorites, as well as a couple of new family-friendly attractions.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “We have lots of things — events, specials — going on throughout the avenue. We have more stores participating with events, sales and specials.”

A variety of downtown stores will be running specials throughout the day. This year’s festival will begin at 4:30 p.m. and conclude at 7:30 p.m. with the tree-lighting ceremony.

Past festival favorites that will again be featured include horse-drawn carriages, tractor-drawn hayrack rides and s’mores stations sponsored by the Boy Scouts at various locations.

New events this year will include a visit from three of Santa’s reindeer near Kookaburra’s — brought to the festival by businesses in the 100 block of Norfolk Avenue — and a community gingerbread house, courtesy of White Mulberry Bakery.

“They’re going to have a foundation for the community gingerbread house, and kids and adults will be able to go in and add to it and decorate it,” Gordon said.

Also new this year will be the “Letters to Santa,” which are under the direction of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve been told that Santa and his helpers are going to be responding to all of those letters,” Gordon said.

Santa and Merry Claus also will be on hand with Rudolph in the courtyard at Downtown Coffee Company. Also planned is a chili feed put on by Grace Community Church.

Gordon said a map illustrating where each attraction is located is available through the Norfolk Area Connected app, as well as the Riverpoint website and Facebook page.

This will be the eighth year the Riverpoint Christmas Festival will take place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The event coincides with the sales provided by downtown merchants on what’s known as Black Tuesday.

“Downtown Norfolk has changed a lot in the last five to 10 years, and we as a community need to be reminded that these are our neighbors. These are our friends and family members, so kicking off the holiday season and showing our appreciation for small-business owners is so important,” Gordon said.

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