City's holiday events to kick off this weekend

Julie Lewis | The Daily Star Parade groups make their way down Main Street during the Home for the Holidays Parade in 2018.

With events starting Saturday, Dec. 7, Destination Oneonta's annual holiday festivities are just around the corner.

The gingerbread contest drop-off will be Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Foothills Atrium, followed by the Home for the Holidays Parade at 4 p.m. Spectators can gather anywhere along Main Street in Oneonta at 4 p.m. for the parade, Destination Oneonta Director of Membership Services Katrina Van Zandt said. Santa Clause, the Hill City Ice Queen, Shoeboxes for Seniors, local dance schools and businesses will make appearances at Home for the Holidays, she said. 

Unlike in previous years, the Muller Plaza tree lighting ceremony will take place Saturday at 5:30 p.m., Van Zandt said. The tree lighting ceremony would usually be the Thursday following the parade. However, doing that this year would mean the tree would only be lit for 13 days, Van Zandt said.

"We decided that wasn't a good idea and went with a whole weekend full of fun," Van Zandt said.

The Festival of Trees events, where businesses in the area either decorate a tree or sponsor a tree to be decorated, will be 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The raffle drawing will take place 3:30 p.m. Sunday. 

The Gingerbread Jubilee, a "celebration of all things gingerbread" with cookie decorating, visits with Santa and other activities, will take place 1 to 4 p.m. at the Foothills Atrium, Van Zandt said. The theme of this year's gingerbread contest is "favorite movie," according to a media release from Foothills.

"It's a great kickoff to the holidays, for the community, there's really something for everyone," Van Zandt said. "Santa comes to town, and the gingerbread displays and the Festival of Trees are immaculate."

Last year the Home for the Holidays parade drew in an estimated 1,000 guests from Unadilla to Davenport. Thirty two groups participated in the parade, including area dancers, local fire and emergency squads, preschools, the Leatherstocking District Pipe Band, The Daily Star, student organizations from Oneonta’s colleges, equestrian clubs and youth scouting groups. Organizers last year told The Daily Star the parade has taken place in the city for more than 50 years.

Van Zandt said anyone interested in volunteering for any of the events, either this year or for future years, can contact her at katrina@destinationoneonta.com. For more information about the events, including sponsors, go to Facebook and check out Destination Oneonta's event, "A Weekend of Holiday Fun."

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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