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Festival of lights to include holiday market

A city park’s trees will burst forth in an array of colored lights. Vendors will sell products in an open-air market. Children will meet and greet Disney characters and Santa Claus will take wishes.

It’s the annual Festival of Lights at Brandon Park from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6, according to Shawn Washington, director of the city’s recreation department.

As a continuation of the magic of the holiday season, the streets and parks department to prepare for the flip of the switch and scores of trees in the park lighting up as the sound of Christmas plays.

Along with the countdown to the lighting of the trees, there will be musical and dance performances on the band shell stage, Washington said.

Expect to see professional ice sculpting, hear the sounds of holiday music and watch as children delight to the meet-and-greets with a variety of characters, including the Grinch.

Then, after warming up with hot cocoa, take a free horse-drawn wagon ride around the park, taking in the light show and perhaps, if there is any, a glistening of snow covered lawn.

Of course, there will be a children’s Wish List letter writing station and visitation by the busy guy himself, Santa Claus.

This year’s Open-Air Holiday Market near the YWCA adds to the heartwarming family event, Washington said.

There will be artisan vendors selling unique holiday gifts, face painting, coffee and hot coca, food trucks and more, Washington said.

“The whole family is encouraged to bundle up and enjoy this beloved community event that is truly a holiday treasure to be celebrated by everyone,” he said.

For those who can’t attend, take heart. There will be other visitations with Santa Claus at Liberty Arena.

Times scheduled include 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6; and Dec. 20, Washington said.