Greenwood Aglow is traditionally the first community lighting celebration, starting the weekend before Thanksgiving and ushering in holiday cheer a little bit early.

People will have the opportunity to see live reindeer, take a ride in a carriage, sip cocoa and enjoy local children singing carols.

This year’s event will include all of the traditional features that people have come to love, said Jane Weisenbach, director of development at the Greenwood Public Library.

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“It’s something that the whole family can come to. It’s free of charge, and it’s a fun way to kick off the holidays,” she said.

The library is spearheading planning for Greenwood Aglow, taking a greater role than it has in the past, Weisenbach said. Many of the activities have always been conducted on the library grounds, but for the first time, the ceremonial tree lighting will be held there.

The Greenwood tree had previously been located in the parking lot of the city center. But with the library taking a greater role, it made sense to centralize everything at one location, Weisenbach said.

Organizers are stringing thousands of lights on the library flagpole to make the tree.

“We’ve done the flagpole tree for the past couple of years, so we’ll put it up as we have in the past. We have a volunteer who helps and is really good at it, so it’ll look great that night,” Weisenbach said.

Students from Isom Elementary School and Greenwood High School will perform holiday songs to set the mood, before Santa emerges to turn on the lights for the first time.

Before and after, a variety of activities are planned. Silly Safaris will be on hand to feature its popular reindeer show, giving kids and adults the chance to meet cousins of Dasher and Donner and Blitzen. Carriage rides — offered for free thanks to local sponsors — will take people around Old Town Greenwood.

Family-friendly crafts, arts opportunities and Christmas caroling will keep kids and parents entertained. The Kiwanis Club of Greenwood is planning to sell food and drinks during the event.

A photo booth will be set up to capture family memories, and children can have their photo taken with Santa for $1.

“It’s so expensive to get your photo taken with Santa at other places, so everyone feels strongly about offering that without the cost,” Weisenbach said.

At a glance

Greenwood Aglow sparks the holiday season this year, but local communities have planned their own special events during the coming weeks to bring your Christmas spirit to a fever pitch.

Circle of Lights

What: One of the region’s most popular holiday events, with music, dance and the lighting of more than 4,700 LED lights turning the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument into a massive tree.

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 24

Where: Monument Circle, Indianapolis

Schedule:

  • 6 p.m.: Music and entertainment starts
  • 7 p.m.: Televised coverage begins on WTHR Channel 13
  • 7:55 p.m.: Monument light-up

Information: downtownindy.org

Franklin Holiday Lighting and Winter Market

What: The holiday lighting of the courthouse square has been a tradition in Franklin for the past 60 years. See the historic downtown illuminate with light, and throughout the day, shop for gifts made by local artisans during the traditional winter market. Other activities, such as a parade, cookie contest and tree-decorating competition will be conducted throughout the day.

When: Dec. 2

Where: Downtown Franklin

Schedule:

  • 8:30 a.m.: Jingle Jog, Franklin Parks and Recreation Center, 396 Branigin Blvd.
  • 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Gingerbread baking contest entries on display, Compass Park community center, 690 State St.
  • 2 to 8 p.m.: Winter market is open, Franklin Elks Lodge 1818, 56 E. Jefferson St.
  • 3 to 4:30 p.m.: Entries for the cookie contest accepted, Mutual Savings Bank, 80 E. Jefferson St.
  • 3 to 7 p.m.: Holiday book sale, Mutual Savings Bank
  • 4:30 to 5 p.m.: Storytime with Mrs. Claus, Mutual Savings Bank
  • 5:30 p.m.: Holiday parade begins
  • 6 to 7 p.m.: Craft time with Mrs. Claus and all cookies on display, Mutual Savings Bank
  • 7 p.m.: Lighting ceremony

Holiday of Lights

What: A parade, Santa’s workshop, caroling, carriage and trolley rides, as well as the lighting of over 3,000 luminarias will all be part of the annual Edinburgh holiday celebration. The town Christmas tree will be lit by the winners of the 2017 Fall Festival Queen and Little Prince and Princess contests.

When: Dec. 9

Where: Downtown Edinburgh

Schedule:

  • 5:30 p.m.: Parade
  • 6 p.m.: Tree lighting
  • 6 to 9 p.m.: Santa’s workshop opens at the Edinburgh Public Library; Christmas caroling
  • 6 to 10 p.m.: Carriage and horse-drawn trolley rides are available. Carriage rides are $10 per person, with kids age 6 and under free. Trolley rides are $1 per person.

Information: edinburgh.in.us

If you go

Greenwood Aglow

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Greenwood Public Library, 310 S. Meridian St.

Activities:

  • Lighting ceremony at 5 p.m.
  • Free carriage rides
  • Reindeer display by Silly Safaris
  • Photos with Santa Claus, $1
  • Crafts, coloring and Christmas carols

Information: greenwoodlibrary.us

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Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.