Christmas in the City kick-off; Friday, Nov. 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Downtown Austin

Published 8:02 am Thursday, November 23, 2017

The annual kick-off to the Christmas season begins Friday with a party downtown.  Meet at First Avenue and Main Street at 5:30 p.m. and walk with Santa Claus, the Austinaires,  Merry Elf and other holiday characters to the Town Center stage to light the downtown Christmas displays.

People climb aboard for a wagon ride during Christmas in the City in 2016.

Kick-off activities

Free Photos with Santa by Mary Landherr Photography, located in the Town Center Building. Candy cane treats for the kids.

Live Entertainment on stage including the Austinaires, Taylor Bliese and emcee Paul Pruitt. Sound provided by Imagery Sound.

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Kaptain Kirby Train Rides

Magic by Jim Jayes

Musical Entertainment in the Town Center sponsored by the Hormel Historic Home: the Ecumenical Bell Ensemble, the Jingle Belles, and more.

Free Face Painting in the lower level of the ArtWorks Center by Matchbox Children’s Theatre. Elevator access is available.

The Austin Fire Department will have a ladder truck on Main Street, across from Rydjor Bike. Sparky may make an appearance.

The Jane Taylor Academy of Dance Christmas Show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Paramount Theatre. Enjoy scenes from “The Nutcracker” and other holiday dances. Admission is $2 a donation to the Historic Paramount Fund.

Santa Claus waves to fans during Christmas in the City in 2016.

In-store activities

Austin ArtWorks Center second floor gallery opening, 5-7 p.m. open house to view this all-member art show. Free admission.

B&J Bar and Grill: Christmas treats

Belles and Beaus Bridal and Formal Wear: Watch live models, enjoy free hot cider and goodies.

Bendixen Jewelry: Hot apple cider and Christmas treats; 20 percent off all in-stock merchandise.

Bridget’s Dance Conservatory: Cookies, hot chocolate and a fun craft, as well as a dance class with the Sugar Plum Fairy. For all ages. Although children  2 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Free.

Coffee House on Main: Stop in for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

George’s Pizza: Children who stop in get a red or green glow necklace.

Hastings Shoes: Holiday treats.

lnnoVision Eyecare: Apple cider, coffee and cookies.

Lou’s Forever Framing: Photo ops with life-size elf cutouts, plus a ping pong ball game for children ages 2-13.

Novedades Cristal: Free cup of “Ponche.”

Piggy Blues BBQ: Holiday Gelato samples. Gift card sale: free $20 card with $100 card purchase. Register for prizes.

Poet’s Heart and Life Safety 4-U: Town Center Building. Coloring pages, drawing for free CPR class, candy for kids.

Rydjor Bike Shop: Test ride a bike inside the store and get a free Christmas ornament.

Salvation Army Kettle Kick-off: In front of ArtWorks Center. Vote for your favorite created kettle with your donation. Trophy awarded to kettle receiving the most donations. Also, register to ring bells. The canteen will be serving free hot chocolate.

Sew Chic Alterations: (Inside Hastings) Holiday treats

SPAM Museum: Write your letter to Santa and enjoy a cookie.

Sweet Reads: Bookmark making, storytelling and fun with Buddy the Elf

The Bakery: Hot chocolate, cider and games for kids.

Twice is Nice: See a farmhouse-inspired Christmas transformation of the story and the latest in holiday decorating, with 20 percent off all home decor Nov. 24-25.