Marion hosts its annual Christmas in the Park celebration Friday

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MARION — Marion’s annual Christmas in the Park celebration promises an evening of family fun from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday in City Square Park.

This year’s event features traditional activities, including the lighting of the community peace tree, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides around City Square Park, cocoa and popcorn and activities at the Marion Public Library, 1095 Sixth Ave. Also, Elsa and Anna from Disney’s “Frozen” will make a special appearance.

Most importantly, Christmas in the Park will welcome the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus along with their reindeer.

In addition to the activities happening in the Park, Uptown Marion Main Street will host “Peppermint Walk,” a holiday shopping event. A nice compliment to the Chocolate Walk held in the fall, the Peppermint Walk will feature a variety of Uptown Marion businesses.

Christmas in the Park and Peppermint Walk are free community events made possible by Marion Chamber Platinum Community Partners Farmers State Bank, Fosters Heating and Air Conditioning, ImOn Communications, MercyCare Community Physicians, and Townsquare Media.

While the events are free, those who attend are encouraged to bring along new hats, mittens or blankets to donate to the Keep Your Neighbors Warm campaign.

The following is a schedule of events. For more information, go to marioncc.org and click on “Events,” “Platinum Community Events” and “Christmas in the Park.”

4 p.m. — Santa Claus arrives in a firetruck, escorted by the Marion Fire Department. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with their reindeer, will visit with children until 8 p.m.

4 p.m. — Cocoa and popcorn are served.

4 to 5:30 p.m. — Eastern Iowa Brass Band quintet performs near the depot.

4 to 7 p.m. — Holiday Book and Music Sale, hosted by Friends of the Marion Library in the lobby of the library.

4 to 8 p.m. — Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered around City Square Park.

4 to 8 p.m. — Climb aboard the Peppermint Express to donate new hats, gloves and blankets as part of the Keep Your Neighbors Warm drive. Items will be collected in the caboose and distributed to area families in need through the Marion Holiday Giving Project. All children walking through the caboose will receive a jingle bell, while supplies last, to ring for the lighting of the Peace Tree.

4 to 8 p.m. — Visit participating Uptown Marion merchants, restaurants and businesses during the Peppermint Walk shopping event. For a list of participating locations, go to marioncc.org.

5 to 7 p.m. — Visit with Elsa and Anna from Disney’s “Frozen.”

5 to 7 p.m. — Make & Take Craft event for children at the library.

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. — The Marion Big Band performs a mix of jazzy holiday tunes and few classic big band favorites at the Marion Heritage Center, 590 10th St.

6 p.m. — Lighting of the Marion Community Peace Tree and caroling in the park.

6 to 6:30 p.m. — Holiday Tuba Ensemble performs at the library.

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