It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Akron


11.13.2008 – Marilyn Miller

City makes it’s holiday list, checks it often to enhance fun

Downtown Akron is gearing up for the holidays.

The celebration will begin the day after Thanksgiving with lighting displays, the Magic Train, German cottages, the Chriskindl Carousel and the largest seasonal outdoor ice rink in the state.

”Affordability is the theme, affordability of first-rate entertainment,” Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth said at a press conference Wednesday at Cascade Plaza.

Given the current economic climate, he said, the events will give residents and out-of-towners a safe place to go that is affordable and enjoyable.

On Friday, Nov. 28, the fifth annual Akron Chriskindl Market will kick off at Lock 3 Park (200 S. Main St.) with lights and music and Santa hurling fireballs into the night sky as part of the Holiday Lighting Spectacular.

Twelve wooden cottages at Lock 3 Park will house craftsmen, artists and vendors selling items from Akron’s sister
city, Chemnitz, Germany.

The Chemnitz visitors, who will have traveled 4,500 miles to get here, will sell items manufactured in small German factories such as hand-blown glass ornaments, wood crafts, ceramics, candles and wool hats, socks, stockings and leg warmers.

Also for sale will be authentic German food, including bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, soups and other one-pot meals, as well as the traditional oval Stollen with raisins, almonds and spices. Warmed Gluehwein — a mulled wine staple at every German market — will be prepared.

On Nov. 29, Santa Claus will ride down Main Street in the 22nd annual Welcome Santa Holiday Parade. The parade will have more than 80 units, including floats, a variety of costumed characters, marching bands and five, 48-foot-tall character balloons.

The parade’s grand marshal will be Lord Mayor Barbara Ludwig of Chemnitz.

First Night buttons, which provide admission to downtown Akron’s New Year’s Eve festivities, will go on sale Nov. 28. This will be the 13th year for the event.

”It’s the largest community celebration of the arts,” said Kimberlee McKee, president of Downtown Akron Partnership. ”The buttons are still $10 — the same as last year. First Night’s theme is community. A community celebration of the New Year through the arts.”

This year’s button was designed by 28-year-old artist Liz Remmel of Akron. She works at Immix Studio in the Canal Square building.

”I wanted to have fun with it, bringing youth to a central location with a crowd of families enjoying the celebration,” Remmel said.

The logo depicts a party leader and everybody is drawn together for entertainment. It also shows various roads all leading into downtown Akron.

Music, dance, theater and individual arts will be offered at the First Night stations. Attendees will be able to paint with an artist, create poetry or a video and learn to play an instrument. Ice-sculpting demonstrations will be set up along Main Street.

Because First Night is a ”teenager” this year, there will be several contests targeted at the younger generation, teen bands as well as Idol and rock band contests.

First Night fireworks will be shot off at the Akron Beacon Journal tower.

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