By Nancy Young
HAMILTON - Downtown gets into the seasonal spirit this weekend with lights, music, floats and activities, capped off by a visit from a certain fellow in red.
The "Hometown Holiday Weekend" will begin at 5 p.m. Friday with a community tree lighting ceremony and opening of the "Winter Wonderland" at Journal Square. More than 100,000 holiday lights and animations will transform streets and merchant store windows.
There will also be plenty of music.
St. Peter in Chains School Children's Chorus, Garfield Junior High School Grandeur and the Hamilton High School Jazz Band will perform this weekend.
Meanwhile, the 10th annual Main Street Music Fest runs simultaneously from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday on Main Street.
The Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony, Appalachian, bluegrass, country, gospel, jazz and rock groups and strolling brass will entertain.
Visitors can also enjoy food from local merchants, horse-drawn trolley rides, and jugglers and clowns.
"This is an opportunity for both established and newer businesses to partake in a longstanding annual event that highlights the diversity of the Main Street Business District," says Debra Fescina Rulon of the Greater Hamilton Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hamilton's newest attraction also opens Friday. It's a 40-by-60 foot Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink sponsored by Fort Hamilton Hospital.
Holiday Lights on the Hill, a drive-through light show at Pyramid Hill featuring 500,000 lights, runs 6-10 p.m. Friday through Jan. 4.
The Santa Parade begins at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. Santa's House, on Courthouse Square, will be open for youngsters to make holiday requests of Santa Claus and have photos taken with him. Santa House will be open daily through Dec. 3, with Mrs. Claus also on hand on weekdays.
St. Julie Billiart Church, 226 Dayton St., hosts the Tillmann Memorial Concert on Sunday at 4 p.m. The Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, featuring French horn virtuoso Richard Todd and organist Clem Burton, will perform at the free concert.
For more information on Hamilton's Hometown Holiday Weekend, call Greater Hamilton Convention & Visitors Bureau at 844-8080 or (800) 311-5353, or go to www.hamilton-cvb.com.
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