The second-annual Christmas in the City will coat the downtown with a variety of activities that seek to bring people to the heart of the county and get them in the Christmas spirit, and that will include no shortage of gingerbread-related fun.
Two separate events will feature a gingerbread cookie decorating activity involving many local businesses and a gingerbread house contest, each of which will begin in the days leading up to the Nov. 29 event. The sweets-centric events will be part of an Charles Dickens-themed extravaganza in downtown Clinton that will feature a tree-lighting, carolers, carriage and hay rides, an old-fashioned Christmas at the History Museum and a visit from Santa Claus.
Christmas in the City will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29.
The Sampson Arts Council and the Clinton Main Street Program are partnering with CenturyLink for the gingerbread cookie decorating activity.
Last year’s activity boasted a gingerbread village decorated by more than 100 participating children. This year, children will instead have the opportunity to decorate their own gingerbread cookie. From Monday, Nov. 26, through Thursday, Nov. 29, children will be able to collect decorating pieces from participating merchants around downtown.
Participating merchants include Butler’s Gift Shoppe, Gloria’s, Hi-Lites, Rebecca’s of Clinton, Sessoms Jewelry, Tickled Pink Consignment Shop and Walgreens, with more to be announced soon. The Clinton Main Street Program has urged participants and attendees of Christmas in the City, as well as the rest of the community, to visit downtown businesses this holiday season.
Each child should bring the candy pieces they have collected to the CenturyLink building at 115 Fayetteville St, next to the Sampson Community Theatre, from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 29 to decorate a cookie to take home.
“As part of the Clinton Main Street Program’s effort to promote shopping downtown, we express a special thank you to CenturyLink for hosting this activity and to all the downtown businesses who are participating,” said Audrey Whetten, planner for Clinton-Sampson Planning Department. “The overall goal is to encourage children and their parents to visit downtown retailers during the holiday season while providing an activity that is fun, creative and free.”
In addition to the gingerbread cookie decorating, the Arts Council will also be sponsoring a gingerbread house contest, with the deadline to register just a week away.
“The Sampson Arts Council is excited to sponsor a Gingerbread House Contest this year to add to the excitement of “A Dickens Christmas in the City” event on Nov. 29,” said Arts Council director Kara Donatelli. “This is a great opportunity to express your creativity for the holidays and we hope that young and old alike will participate in this sweet contest.”
There are three age categories: Child (10 and under), Youth (11-18) and Adult (19 and older). Registration for the contest is $5 and the deadline to register is by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. As part of the contest, the Arts Council is also offering gingerbread kits, to include gingerbread pieces only, for $10.
“This provides a blank canvas to create a unique gingerbread masterpiece,” said Donatelli. “You can also purchase your own kit or bake your own gingerbread.”
She said participants were encouraged to use their imagination and have fun.
Entry deadline is Nov. 28 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the CenturyLink building. The houses will be on display for the cookie decorating activity the next day, to be judged by local chef Steven Clarke.
The overall winner of “Best in Show” will be awarded $25. Ribbons will be awarded in each age category for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and honorable mention. The public is invited to vote for “People’s Choice Award” the night of the event from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Winning designs will be displayed in various downtown businesses from Nov. 30 through Dec. 23.
For contest rules and registration, visit www.sampsonarts.net or stop by the Victor R. Small House at 709 College St. in Clinton. Call 910-596-2533 to schedule a time to stop by. For the full slate of events on tap at Christmas in the City, visit www.christmasinthecityclinton.com.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.