Christmas on Green Street and the Jingle Mingle shopping kickoff event have been canceled this year.
In typical years, Jingle Mingle is held in November and includes a visit from Santa and a lighting of the chicken that sits atop Main Street Market on the Gainesville square. Christmas on Green Street is usually held the first Sunday of December and features a parade followed by open houses along historic Green Street.
As an alternative to the popular events, Main Street Manager Nicole Ricketts said the city is hosting Light up the Town.
People are asked to decorate their homes or businesses with lights and submit a photo to the downtown Gainesville website. Applications will be available online Sunday, Nov. 1, until Wednesday, Dec. 1.
“We’re trying to come up with other ways to keep the spirit alive in downtown,” Ricketts said.
Participants will have the opportunity to be judged in one of five categories:
Longest consecutive line of decorated homes
Best decorated business
Best individual decorated home
Best decorated group of homes/neighborhood
People’s choice, the most-liked home on Facebook.
Ricketts encourages people to pack as many lights and holiday cheer as possible into their homes or storefronts. The winners will receive their own personal Santa parade on Sunday, Dec. 6, fit with decked-out firetrucks, police cars and other city vehicles.
As people begin submitting their illuminated homes and buildings, the locations will become available through a Google map on downtown Gainesville’s website for anyone to view. Ricketts said those who live outside the Gainesville city limits can participate and add their address; however, their home or business won’t be entered in the contest.
Although Jingle Mingle has been called off, Ricketts assures people that the lighting of the chicken will happen but most likely without a large ceremony. In typical years, the large metal chicken is illuminated during the event with great fanfare, music and cheers.
“Traditionally it’s tied to Jingle Mingle, so we’re being a little cautious,” she said. “We’re wanting to make sure that we’re not trying to draw a big crowd for an event. We’re still thinking it through.”