Early holiday spirit to be shared

It’s five months from the winter holiday season, but Basin Street Shopping Plaza will light up with the spirit of Christmas in July on Saturday with the city’s inaugural celebration event.

With the future plans of an East Third Street/Old City Gateway Revitalization in place, organizers said this week it was a nice way to put the focus on the eastern end of the city’s Central Business District.

“And it’s all free,” said Cindi Perry Rischar, a spokeswoman for the event.

The activities take place about a block from each other. Antique automobiles from Keystone Cruisers will be parked and on display at Mulberry Street parking lot at the same time Christmas in July activities will be taking place at the Basin Street Shopping Plaza, she said.

Expect to see city fire engines, police cruisers, and the Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Bounce houses will be set up for the children and free Italian ice served, Rischar said. Also expected to make an appearance is Santa Claus.

Activities begin at 1 p.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m. for the cruisers and street festival. Then, from 5 to 7 p.m. the band Flipside will perform, Rischar said.

The capstone of the night is an outside showing at dusk of the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” she said.

“We hope this will be a big hit and catch on and be something that we can repeat year after year,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said.