As the fall semester draws to a close, Plattsburgh State students can take a break from studying for finals to venture out to a city-wide holiday event, while also getting into a festive spirit just in time for winter break.

Plattsburgh’s annual holiday tree lighting event, hosted by First Weekends and The Strand Theater will take place tonight. Working with City of Plattsburgh’s Promotions and Special Events Coordinator Sandra Geddes the city will also hold its first holiday parade, prior to the tree lighting.

The parade will start at PSUC’s Redcay Hall, at 5 p.m., march down Brinkerhoff Street, turn to follow Margaret Street and end at Stafford Middle School.

“We really wanted to incorporate the college. We’re working toward creating a more collaborative and communicative (relationship) with the college,” Geddes said.

Local businesses and other organizations are participating by crafting festive holiday-themed floats to showcase. Geddes said that in the weeks leading up to the parade, she has counted 22 local participants but expects that number to rise to approximately 30 by the day of the parade.

“We really want them to get festive, and they have been doing just that,” Geddes said.

Some of the businesses decorating festive floats are Sweet Frog, Taylor Rentals and Northeast Printing. Knights of Columbus, Champlain Valley Irish Dancers and Boy Scout Troop 8039 have also volunteered to create floats. The Adirondack Young Professionals organization will be walking alongside the parade participants, offering candy to those watching.

The tree lighting, held shortly after the parade, will attract community members to downtown Plattsburgh, helping them to become more involved and more familiar with the city.

Geddes said it is a great way to make people feel like a part of the community, especially students who have not yet had a reason to travel downtown.

The downtown businesses that are involved will also provide discounts and fun activities for those who attend the tree lighting after the parade.

“This is really a community spirit booster,” Geddes said.

Aside from the tree lighting ceremony, those exploring the city can also take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, take pictures with Santa Claus and listen to Christmas and other holiday tunes. Geddes also said Dunkin Donuts will be providing enough coffee and hot chocolate for everyone.

Along with the effort displayed by the City of Plattsburgh, The Strand Theater and First Weekends, several media outlets will be offering coverage of the event. Local radio station Kool 105 will be holding a live radio broadcast of the parade, and WPTZ Newschannel 5 will be filming the parade and tree lighting as well.

Kool 105’s Operations Manager, Steve Pelkey, said the radio station became involved after being in contact with Geddes. The station have covered other city events, such as the Battle of Plattsburgh and the Mayor’s Cup Parade of Lights in the past.

“It really gets the holiday spirit going, and it’s a way to help be involved with the city,” Pelkey said.

The city of Plattsburgh has created a Facebook event page to spread awareness by posting important timelines of the night as well as exciting details about the events taking place within the city.

Over 1,000 people in the area have RSVP’d saying they will be attending the event, like Christopher Gebhardt.

Gebhardt is a graduate intern at PSUC for the Global Education Office and the Center for Student Involvement. He said this will be his first time attending the city’s holiday festivities after he noticed the Facebook event page.

“My favorite part of the holidays is the ambiance of it all and just being with family and friends,” Gebhardt said.

As many Plattsburgh citizens anticipate the start of winter, Geddes advised those watching the parade or venturing downtown for the tree lighting to dress warm. Fire pits will also be scattered throughout the center of downtown. Although snow and ice are not in the forecast, temperatures will be in the low 30s the night of the holiday festival.

For more details of the event, including float registration information, event and activities timelines and a full list of businesses participating, check out the City of Plattsburgh’s event page, “Downtown Plattsburgh Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting,” on Facebook.

Email Marissa Russo at marissa.russo@cardinalpointsonline.com

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