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Annual downtown Lawrence Holiday Lighting Ceremony and Santa Rescue set for this weekend

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Post last updated at 12:21 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23:

The annual downtown Holiday Lighting Ceremony and Santa Rescue will be back for another year, set for this Friday.

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The ceremony will begin with a countdown leading up to Mayor Courtney Shipley and Hank Booth illuminating the holiday lights downtown, according to eXplore Lawrence’s website.

Then, look to the roof of Weaver’s Department Store, where Santa Claus will once again find himself in need of rescue. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical will be there with a ladder fire truck to rescue him, according to eXplore Lawrence.

The event will include a holiday musical performance by Cantemos Youth Chorale, a children’s choir and nonprofit program in Douglas County. Other performers will include the Mason Family Fiddlers, the Lawrence High School Chorale and Richard Renner the Vaudeville Clown, according to a news release from the city.

Kids are encouraged to write their letters to Santa and bring them as letters will be collected at this year’s event, according to eXplore Lawrence. The website also recommends those letters include a return address so that kids can receive a personal response back.

“Santa will not be able to stay and greet the crowd as he will need to head back to the North Pole and work with the elves to prepare for the holiday,” according to the city.

The events are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25 in front of Weaver’s, at 901 Massachusetts St. The lighting ceremony will take place at 6:20 p.m., according to the city.

The Rotary Club of Central Lawrence is this year’s event sponsor, according to the club’s current president, Jim Evers.

Massachusetts Street will be closed from Eighth to 10th Street, and Ninth Street will be closed from Vermont to Massachusetts Street, from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, according to the city. Parking will be available in the garage at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

“The Parks and Recreation Department began stringing lights downtown, at City Hall, in South and Centennial parks, Prairie Park Nature Center, the Lawrence Rotary Arboretum, the Union Pacific Depot and Eagle Bend Golf Course in mid-October,” according to the city. “Approximately 120,000 lights will help make Lawrence festive over the holidays. As tradition, the lights will remain through Valentine’s Day.”

For more information on the event, visit the eXplore Lawrence website. Check out some photos from last year’s event at this link.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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