The 23rd annual Light Up Downtown filled downtown Canton with holiday cheer Thursday evening. The event featured free refreshments, live performances and sleigh rides.
"How about some hot chocolate?" came the call from businesses during the 23rd annual Light Up Downtown event. Face painting, free refreshments and fireworks entertained the crowds along Market Avenue N on Thursday, and a stage show featuring elf Christopher Pop-In-Kins and Santa Claus drew fans young and old. Jen Palmer and her daughter, Hailey, made their way toward the show, which followed the holiday character, Christopher Pop-In-Kins, on his journey down Candy Cane Lane to the North Pole. "She likes to dance to the music," Palmer said. The entertainment brought them back for a third year, which, Palmer said, was considerably warmer than those past. "This year's much better," she said. The December day reached a high in the upper 50s before dropping to into the upper 30s as night fell. Thursday's sporadic rain showers held off until the fireworks finale, yet people continued to stroll the streets with umbrellas or ducked under awnings. The annual event is sponsored by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce's Canton Development Partnership and has attracted anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people in years past. "It's exciting," said Stacey DuBose. "It's fun." DuBose, who resides in Pennsylvania, attended the event for the first time with her daughter, 4-year-old Raelynn, and cousin, 4-year-old Carlo, while visiting family in the Canton area. They, too, were watching the winter-themed performance. The children kept their eyes on the costumed dancers and begged to move closer. "I think they're enjoying the show," the elder DuBose said. Others flocked to the Christmas tree and cutouts of snowmen and Santa's workshop in the center of downtown or horse-drawn sleigh rides a few blocks away. "I like the tree," 11-year-old Colten Clark said. It was the third time he, his 12-year-old sister Liberty, and mother Amy Clark attended the festival. Map in hand, Amy Clark said they try to stop every place downtown. "They love the lights, music," she said. Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @kbyerREP