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Merchants hope ‘Light Up Corydon’ will light up sales

On Saturday night about 6:35, 100,000 tiny white lights will turn Corydon’s town square into a winter fantasyland, sending small children and adults alike into, well, if not ecstasy, at least wide-eyed wonderment.
Corydon’s 20th annual ‘Light Up Corydon’ is the most ambitious yet and promises to be the best, with 28 merchants working together to stay open late Friday nights and all day Saturday the next five weekends to accommodate what everyone hopes will be record shopping crowds. Most merchants have added Sunday afternoon hours, too.
The merchants have been focusing on this since October. ‘We’re gonna push it really hard,’ said Sean Hawkins, community development manager for the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said many businesses will provide ‘special shopping opportunities.’ That means SALES.
The festivities begin Saturday morning at 10 with open houses at most of the businesses, shops and restaurants. (On Saturday morning, Dec. 3, you can enjoy breakfast with Santa at Magdalena’s Restaurant.)
Starting at 1 p.m. this Saturday, the pubic is invited to tour Bud and Betty Bennett’s historic, handsomely restored Cedar Glade mansion on North Capitol Avenue as a Metro United Way fund-raiser. (See story below.) Admission is $10 at the door, and all money goes to United Way. Tours will continue on Sunday and for the following weekend.
Free carriage rides around the square will start at 3 p.m. The Corydon Dulcimer Society will give a free Christmas program at 3:30 at the Wright Interpretive Center just north of the town square.
Members of the Corydon United Methodist Church will stage a Living Nativity in the sanctuary from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Singer Sara Wilson will headline entertainment at the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand starting at 5:30, and at 6:20, Hayswood Theatre’s Charles Swarens will read ‘ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’
Santa arrives at the square at 6:30 p.m. and the lights will be turned on five minutes later, outlining trees, buildings and shrubs in a breathtaking scene that few town squares can rival. One big holly tree on the south side of the square has 15,000 lights alone. Hawkins said tourists aren’t the only people who enjoy the winter wonderland. Local people often drive by on their way to work or on their way home, just to look at the lights.
After the lights have been turned on, the CVB will give away a $500 ‘Shopping Spree’ gift certificate.
From 6:40 to 9 p.m. children can meet Santa and have their picture taken with him by Bob Davis of FBG Images in the First State Capitol.
At 8 p.m., Hayswood Theatre will stage ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Reservations are required. Call Magdalena’s Restaurant at 738-8075.
All the merchants and everyone involved in ‘Light Up Corydon’ are hoping for nice weather. Last year, Hawkins said, it rained or snowed most of the weekend, but the crowds were still good.
Lisa England, who runs Candles by Lisa on Beaver Street, said November has been unusually slow, but business began to pick up yesterday, when she got three 200-candle orders. ‘Hopefully, today’s a sign,’ she said.
She hopes Saturday as well as December will be great. ‘Bring ’em on,’ she said. She depends on November and December sales for half of her annual business.
‘I really have high expectations,’ she said.
In December she stays open seven days a week. ‘It’s really paid off the last five years.’

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