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Photo 1: Courtesy of Downtown Country Christmas Festival/Melissa Meske

Holiday hayrides hosted by the Tri County Antique Club are just one part of what makes each year’s Downtown Country Christmas Festival in Jerseyville an especially unique way for families from throughout the region and beyond to spark the Christmas spirit within. The 5th annual community celebration takes place on Saturday, Nov. 30 in the heart of Jerseyville’s downtown. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 22, 2019 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Michael Ward, Festival Coordinator, City of Jerseyville: Tourism Office, downtowncountrychristmas@gmail.com, (618) 567-0739.   

JERSEYVILLE, IL (Nov. 22, 2019) – Communities all over the country mark Small Business Saturday this year on Nov. 30. Mom-and-pop shops, small businesses, creative entrepreneurs and nonprofit groups that are at the heart of every hometown will roll out too-good-to-miss gift ideas, sales and specials with the hope of enticing holiday shoppers to “come inside and take a look; there’s something special for everyone.”

It’s all a part of encouraging the idea of “stay local, shop local” on the day following the annual battle for the best bargains at the big box stores that has become somewhat of a Black Friday tradition. 

The fifth annual Downtown Country Christmas Festival takes place in the heart of Jerseyville’s downtown district on Saturday, Nov. 30. 

And again this year, the City of Jerseyville, Jersey County, and many other partners have joined together to offer a more unique way of ensuring shoppers can fulfill their holiday gift-giving lists while also fulfilling their wishes for memories in the making. 

Travelers should make note that Illinois Highway 67 (State Street) will be closed for traffic from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the Festival event. Exchange, Pearl, Arch and Washington Streets will also be closed for traffic from 1 to 10 p.m. to accommodate Festival activities.

Festival parking will be available at multiple locations surrounding downtown Jerseyville, with complimentary shuttle service also provided and looping from Jersey Community High School to the merchant district.

The lineup of holiday cheer, food, fun, entertainment, activities and more kicks off when the vendor and exhibitor heated tent opens at 10 a.m. Well over 100 locals will set up shop for the day under the big tent which will be located along North Washington Street near the rear of Holy Ghost Catholic School and Medford Food Mart. Some of the live musical entertainment will also perform throughout the day inside the heated outdoor venue.

At 11:30 a.m., Jerseyville Stadium Theater will open its doors for moviegoers, offering a free viewing of the 1985 Christmas holiday classic “Santa Claus: The Movie,” with leading characters portrayed by Dudley Moore, David Huddleston and John Lithgow.

Live music from the Festival’s South Stage begins at 1:30 p.m. The scheduled live music lineup for this year includes Isaiah Christian & the Rebel Saints, Carl & Jay Acoustic Styling, Flatliner, and the Music of Jersey Community Unit School District 100.

The big guy himself – Santa Claus – arrives via Survival Flight helicopter to Jerseyville’s Lions Club/Wittman Park, located at North Jefferson and East Spruce Streets, at approximately 2 p.m., leaving his sleigh parked safely at the North Pole. Shortly after Santa’s debut, Elf Boulevard officially opens, offering a host of over 30 children’s games, activities, inflatables and more along its stretch. That’s also when Mrs. Claus’ Bake Shoppe opens for business, free photos with Santa get underway, the Elf School bell rings, and the North Pole Post Office readies itself to receive all the important correspondence from the children that needs processing in time for Christmas morning. 

 Also at this time, holiday hayrides begin circling throughout downtown and the historical Cheney Mansion opens for tours of some its buildings. Kids will also have the chance to sign Christmas cards to be sent to troops deployed overseas for the holidays.

But wait – there’s more. So much more, in fact. 

“Each year, we’ve grown, adjusted, adapted and expanded what is offered at the Festival. There truly is always something for everyone. The idea behind the Downtown Country Christmas Festival has always been to bring the community, its residents and visitors, and the region together to share in the true spirit of the holiday season,” said DCCF’s Julie Pohlman, owner of Julie’s Graphics. “We want families and individuals alike to come out for the Festival, support our local businesses, and take memories home with them that will last a lifetime. Then come back again each year to make more of them.”

Participating downtown restaurants offering festive holiday food and beverages include 1880 Pizza Pasta House, DJ’s Pub and Grill, Domino’s Pizza, Fran & Marilyn’s Restaurant, George’s Local Brew, JEM Bar and Redbird Deli. Fried Everything Food Stand will host its offerings from inside the vendor and exhibitor tent, and there will be two locations hosted by Kettle Corn. Pig on a Wing will have its food truck located at State and Pearl Streets, while Heavy Smoke is on an adjacent corner at State and Pearl.

As part of the Festival event, the 2019 Kringle Award recipients and Light Up Your Business winners are both announced during the official lighting ceremony of the City of Jerseyville Christmas Tree at 5 p.m., and Rudolph’s Red Nose Parade steps off at 7:30 p.m. The Festival concludes at 8 p.m.  Complete details about Jerseyville’s 5th annual Downtown Country Christmas Festival, including a detailed map and schedule of activities, are available online at downtowncountrychristmas.com

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