This Friday, Gas City is keeping the holiday season rolling with the first annual Christmas Parade of Lights.

All merchants and citizens of Gas City are invited to kick off the celebration of Christmas by letting lights shine bright on Main Street.

“I want people when they come through Gas City to see that we have a quality of life here,” Mayor Bill Rock said. “We love our town (and) we want to make people feel welcome when they come through.”

Post-Thanksgiving festivities start with a business-themed scavenger hunt from 1-5 p.m. Participants can register at Hutchins Commons to receive 26 clues, which are linked to 26 local businesses. Using the symbols, participants must match each clue to the corresponding business by identifying the same clue on the business’ store window.

For the businesses that are open, those participating will receive extra credit for going inside and obtaining initials from a store employee. Every correct match, the participant’s name will get thrown into a hat and will be eligible to win a prize. The announcement of the victor will take place at 6:30 p.m.

Anita Eckstein, event organizer and deputy clerk treasurer of Gas City, said the main goal of this game is to make attendants aware of new businesses and those that will be open during the event.

Throughout the day, various craft vendors will be serving food to residents, including the Gas City Police Department who are selling hot dogs, chili and hot chocolate. All money earned at their stand will go toward former chief of police Tim Eckstein’s scholarship fund.

Other featured vendors include Dough Boys & Co. Holy Donuts, Dolled Up Spuds and Crazy Munchies, just to name a few.

Sandwiched in between the parade and hunt, a variety of games and kid pageants will last from 3-5 p.m.

Mark Atkinson, lead pastor at Eastview Wesleyan Church, has agreed to lead a communal prayer at Hutchins Commons at 5 p.m.

“We’re just trying to make it festive with COVID going on,” Eckstein said. “Just (a way) to get people out in the spirit of what Christmas is all about: Christ.”

The parade itself will commence at 5:30 p.m., beginning at Mississinewa High School. More than 40 floats and Christmas-themed golf carts will make their way up 1st Street, to Main Street and 3rd Street and have the option to finish back at the high school or behind City Hall.

Featured businesses either sponsoring floats or taking part in the scavenger hunt include the following: Pizza King, Subway, Mama Pearson’s and Wispy Pines. All those located on Main Street, however, will be involved in the Christmas Parade of Lights.

Carolers will then perform traditional Christmas songs following the conclusion of the marching parade.

All eyes will be directed to City Hall at 7 p.m. On the library’s front lawn, a big pine tree will be lit, the lighting ceremony signaling the 2021 Christmas season in Gas City.

From 7-9 p.m., kids of all ages can have their picture taken with Santa Claus before ending the day’s festivities.

Additionally, until Friday, organizations or individuals can sponsor a light in Beaner Park, $100 per light. Each will be given a sign to advertise their respective names during the 27th annual Beaner Park Walkway of Lights, lasting till December 31. The sponsor fee will offset expenses and maintenance of the light displays.

Sponsorships are made payable to Christmas Light Fund at 211 East Main Street Gas City, IN 46933.

For more information on either event, contact the Mayor’s office at 765-677-3080 or Anita Eckstein at 765-677-3079.

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