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A chilly Light Up Corydon

A chilly Light Up Corydon
A chilly Light Up Corydon
Children help Santa with a contest drawing after thousands of tiny, white lights are turned on around the Corydon town square Saturday evening. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

A cold, wintry blast arrived in Harrison County, just in time for the annual Light Up Corydon festivities and the start of the holiday shopping season, but the cold didn’t keep everyone away from Saturday evening’s event.
“The cold kept down the crowd, but I was not disappointed,” said Sean Hawkins, community development manager with the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
It was Hawkins’ first Light Up Corydon.
“It was a great kick-off for the holiday season,” he said. “Even though the people were cold, they were happy. They brought their families.”
Saturday’s windy blast may have actually helped increase business for the merchants with warm shops on the Corydon town square.
“The merchants I talked to reported good sales and some new customers,” Hawkins said.
Members of Judi Moore’s Girl Scout troop, who had helped plan Light Up Corydon and hang greenery, and the Corydon Central High School Advanced Choir, which sang prior to the 6 p.m. countdown, handed out hot chocolate, cookies and candy canes that Hawkins had purchased. They were allowed to keep any donations they received. The choir used theirs to help fund its trip to Tennessee for a contest next spring.
After thousands of tiny, white lights were turned on all around the square about 6 p.m., many of those present returned to the stores for more shopping.
Indiana Jack’s, an antique mall at 113 E. Beaver St., was one destination.
“They came back in after the lights were turned on,” said Jack Caudill, who owns the mall. “It made it worthwhile being open.”
“People were looking for antique furniture, old primitive kitchen utensils,” said Betty Withers, one of three managers at Indiana Jack’s.
Caudill said his customers wanted “local collectibles” and things with Santa Claus on them.
Indiana Jack’s and most of the other shops here will start their extended holiday hours this week.
Caudill’s store will be open until 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays, and 9 p.m. on Fridays.
Santa Claus arrived in Corydon Saturday afternoon on top of the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Dept.’s new ladder truck. Any children who missed giving the big guy their wish list can still visit him this weekend at the First State Capitol. He’ll be there the next two Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. and the next two Saturdays from 12 noon until 3 p.m.
Some people might have been disappointed in Santa’s parade, but Hawkins said a couple of entries canceled at the last minute and there were several no-shows, due to the cold.
“It was short, but it was neat,” Hawkins said. “It’s hard to get people to participate on a holiday weekend.”
On Friday, the traditional start of the national Christmas shopping season, more than 8,000 people were at the Corydon Wal-Mart Supercenter for its early morning blitz, from 6 to 11 a.m. Computers, TVs and digital cameras were some of the marked-down items that consumers quickly purchased.
U.S. retail sales were up 12 percent over the three-day weekend after Thanksgiving. Sales totaled $15.9 billion, compared to $14.2 billion in 2001.
Hawkins said he received a lot of positive comments about Saturday’s event.
“The entertainment was good. The carriage rides went well. And the candlelight tours of the Hendricks House went well,” he said.
The Corydon Scenic Railroad ran the “Polar Express” and will do so again the next two weekends.
“It was the first time for the event,” Hawkins said. “They were very pleased with it.”
Hawkins is already thinking about how to improve next year’s Light Up Corydon. He said he’d would prefer to make it a “presentation rather than an open house.
“With some fine tuning, I think we can really make it something,” he said.