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The Royal Park Hotel's gingerbread house

Rochester’s holiday season is about to begin

It was after a trip to Disney World that Kristi Trevarrow came up with the idea of covering downtown Rochester with lights, turning the city into holiday central.

As the Big Bright Light Show prepares to fire up for its seventh year, Trevarrow, Executive Director of the Rochester Downtown Development Authority, said she feels like she’s accomplished that goal.

“I’d like to think that all the cars coming down here, all the people eating in the restaurants, all the shoppers in stores are coming here for the lights,” she said.

The lights will be turned on for the season at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26 during the city’s 40th annual Lagniappe. Lagniappe (Creole for “a little something extra”) is the night merchants stay open late and offer customers some appreciation for shopping local all year. Lagniappe festivities begin at 6 p.m. and will include a visit with Santa, carriage rides and music.

This year, due to the construction project that tied up Main Street all summer, Trevarrow said she won’t try to improve on the show. As it is, all the bolts securing the lights had to be removed due to construction, then replaced. So work got started earlier than usual.

“This year, more than anything … we’re just going to stick with what we’ve got, our 1.5 million lights,” she said. A lot of people, she said, “have all decided that Lagniappe is going to be the night they come (back) downtown.”

And she’s pretty sure downtown will be ready, even though new light poles weren’t scheduled to arrive until Nov. 21.

“It’s kind of like company coming over,” she said. “It all comes together at the last minute. It’s just on a slightly bigger scale.”

Of course Lagniappe and the Big Bright Light Show aren’t the only holiday events coming to town; they’re not even the DDA’s only events. Here’s a list of what we know of so far:

The annual Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade will kick off on Main Street at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Come back to RochesterMedia.com next week for more on the parade and the grand-marshal party on Nov. 29.

The Paint Creek Center for the Arts Holiday Gift Gallery is now open, as is the Village Gallery at the Village of Rochester Hills. Both offer local, handmade gifts in a wide variety of mediums.

The Kris Kringle Market, an outdoor, European-style holiday pop-up market, returns to West Fourth Street between Walnut and Main Nov. 30-Dec. 1. It will feature specialty foods, fresh greens, handcrafted gifts, food and drink, free kids’ activities, music and Santa. Hours are 2-10 p.m. Nov. 30 and noon-10 p.m. Dec. 1. See downtownrochestermi.com for details.

The Rochester Garden Club returns with its annual Greens Market Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Located at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on Main Street (across from Dairy Queen), admission is $2. Find fresh wreaths and roping, fresh and permanent holiday arrangements, custom-made bows, herbs and hand-made gifts.  Horus are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 30 and 9-1 Dec. 1. Proceeds benefit the club’s community projects.

The Rochester Symphony Orchestra will present its holiday concert, Lights of the Season, at 8 p.m. Dec. 14 at St. Andrew Church, 1400 Inglewood Avenue. Pianist Alvin Waddles will perform
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and the program will include the world premiere of a composition by RSO Conductor Clark Suttle along with holiday favorites. Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for students. Order tickets at (248) 651-4181 or visit rochestersymphony.com.

The Royal Park Hotel has installed its annual gingerbread house in the hotel lobby. It took 580 hours to mix up and decorate the 300 pounds of gingerbread mix.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm 9 a.m.-4 p.m. December 1. Enjoy freshly baked cookies and take a wagon ride to the dairy barn to view the holiday exhibit, Toys from the Past. Tickets are $4 for museum members, $7 for nonmembers.

On Dec 15, the museum will present Old Fashioned Christmas. Take a wagon ride to the all the museum buildings for entertainment, crafts, snacks, theatre groups and chestnuts roasting over an open fire. Advance tickets are $4 for members, $7 for nonmembers; tickets at the door are $10. Tickets can be purchased at rochesterhills.org or in person during the museum’s open hours, Fridays and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.

Meadow Brook Hall will present its 41st annual Holiday Walk Nov. 23-Dec. 22. This year’s theme, Puttin’ on the Glitz” takes you back to the 1930’s, showcasing the hall’s most fashionable parties. Follow the clues and find tiny teddy bears amongst the glitzy décor, then take the decorated path to Knole Cottage playhouse.  The hall is open daily 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (last admittance 4 p.m.), with special evening hours December 17–20 till 9 p.m. (last admittance 8 p.m.). Admission is $20 for adults.  Contact meadowbrookhall.org or (248) 364-6200 for more information.

For the 31st year, Meadow Brook Theatre will present A Christmas Carol Nov. 16-Dec. 23. For ticket information contact mbtheatre.com or (248) 377-3300.

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