Planning for the annual DMI Holiday Stroll is underway and, according to Sonja Koeller, organizer of the event, most of the planning is complete. The event, planned for December 2 from 3 to 8, includes a few new events for 2023.
“We are adding an Ugly Sweater Contest the day of the stroll,” Koeller said. “What we are asking people to do is wear their favorite “ugly” Christmas sweater and take photos in front of a canvas we are placing downtown. They then send it off to Google photos where it will be judged and we will award first, second and third prize.”
The canvas, which is being painted by local artist, Nadia Zychal, will be located next to the DMI tent in front of their offices located at 10 South Walnut Street.
“We try to do a lot of things during the Holiday Stroll as far as Christmas activities and entertainment. We will have a live nativity with a choir singing, we’ll have the high school choir singing at some point, the Unity band, so lots of different things will be happening that day,” Koeller sai.d “So, Holiday Stroll encompasses all of that as well as the Christmas market. We have about 40 vendors; we call them artisan crafters and specialty products that have reserved space in our Christmas market area.”
The live nativity and sound for the event is provided by Milford Church of God and Koeller explained that the entire event is based on a European tradition at Christmas. Walnut Street from Northeast Front to Southeast Front Streets will be closed to traffic for the event.
“We will have the Carlisle Fire Department on Park Avenue with the smores provided by Representative Bryan Shupe next to it. The Christmas Market will be in Riverwalk. Park, right there next to Santa’s house,” Koeller said. “And of course, Santa will be there. He will be arriving at five o’clock. We’ll have entertainment by Bayside Gymnastics. Usually, the businesses down there do something special. Irish Rose has had Irish dancers at some point of the evening. The Music School is open and there’s walk throughs. Tax Chicks has their beautiful train display. So, the businesses are open with either entertainment or sales. Of course, restaurants will be open, but they can’t accommodate everybody. We have a lot of people downtown that night. So, we have five food trucks.”
The food trucks who will be offering options at the Holiday Stroll include Dixie’s Down Home Cooking, Bola’s Thin Crust Pizza, White and Associate Treats, Two Bay Twists and Steel Bowl. In the Christmas market, visitors can find a wide range of items designed for gift giving, including alpaca products, pet accessories, candles, macrame, wood carvings, jewelry, soaps and more. Vendor tables are closed, according to Koeller, as she currently has a wait list for space.
“We’ve just been growing immensely,” Koeller said. “It’s the beginning of October and I already cannot take another vendor.”
DMI is still working on baskets that will be raffled during the stroll. They are also looking for volunteers to help with traffic control (training is provided) and to perform other duties during the event. For more information, contact the DMI office at 302-839-1180.
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