The holiday season has officially started in Franklin, as the capital of Venango County will hold its annual Light-Up Night event today and running until the early hours of Sunday.
The city will launch into the Christmas mood as decorations across the city are set up, with the climax being the lighting of the community tree. The night will feature various musical performances as well, and the walking of the annual Light-Up Night parade.
This year will feature a bit of Titusville flair in the celebration, as local musician Nathaniel Licht will join Tammi Dahl and Rachael Mellor for the newly added Rockin’ Light-Up Pre-Show. The show will lead up to the start of the parade, which begins at 6 p.m., and is in turn followed by the community tree lighting and annual fireworks show.
The pre-show is one of a number of changes made to the Franklin Light-Up Night that has kept it going strong over the past several decades. Ronnie Beach, events marketing coordinator for the City of Franklin, said Light-Up Night got its start in the early 1980s with rather humble beginnings.
“When it started, it was held on the steps of the courthouse, and we had a children’s choir sing and we served cocoa and cookies,” Beach said. “Now, we have thousands of people who come.”
Beach attributed the growth of the annual festival mainly to the later additions of the parade and fireworks show.
“We kept adding to it, and eventually we put in the parade,” she said. “That was small, at first, and that grew, and then we added the fireworks to (the) Christmas music, and that just capped it.”
The parade this year features more than 60 entries, including several local groups and organizations. In addition, Beach said the parade would feature around 10 75-foot long semi-trucks and several other vehicles adorned in Yuletide decorations.
Those decorations and more are the main feature of Light-Up Night, according to Beach. She said many businesses and residents in Franklin get into the spirit of the holiday by decorating their shops and homes just in time for the annual event.
“Everyone’s involved,” Beach said of how Light-Up Night affects the town.
Festivities begin today with the downtown retail Christmas kick-off starting at 10 a.m. and running until 6 p.m. Tours of the DeBence Antique Music World will be offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a fee, while the Cookie Walk at Franklin Library will run from noon to 4 p.m.
The Christmas Tree Extravaganza at the Barrow-Civic Theatre will kickoff at 1 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. The Victorian City Art & Frame will host the Gallery Glow from 3-6 p.m., while Santa Claus will visit the Barrow Little Theater from 4-5:30 p.m.
The new attraction, the Rockin’ Light Up Pre-Show, begins at 4:45 p.m. in front of fountain park and runs until 5:45 p.m.
Franklin First Presbyterian Church will host the Oil City High School ensemble from 5-6 p.m., with free hot dogs and cocoa offered.
The Franklin Light Up Night Parade starts at 6 p.m., and will run down Liberty Street. The community tree lighting ceremony will follow, and the Pyrotechnico Fireworks Extravaganza show will finish out the main features of the night.
However, there still will be some fun to have before the night is through. The band Mis B’Havin will perform at the Red Bandana Winery from 7:30-10:30 p.m., while Mike Leslie will play music at Foxtales from 9 p.m. to midnight. Those looking for some extra late-night entertainment can watch Randy Moorehead play at the Liberty Street Ale House at Quality Inn from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
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