CLARKSVILLE – Between building thousands of toys and maintaining his “naughty and nice” list, Santa Claus is understandably busy this time of year. In spite of his hectic schedule, he has made plans to make an early stop in Clarksville for a special riverside ceremony.
On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Santa will join Mayor Johnny Piper, Kris Kringle, and the Channel 4 Snowbird for the grand opening of U.S. Bank and Clarksville’s 12th annual Christmas on the Cumberland light display. Once Piper officially lights the display, Families will be able to enjoy an illuminated stroll through McGregor Park’s RiverWalk and enjoy a variety of holiday scenes.
This year’s exhibition boasts over one million lights. Unlike previous seasons, however, the lights to be used this year are LED, meaning lower energy costs.
“The best thing about switching the lights is that the LED bulbs are much brighter, and we’re still saving money,” said Candice Waite, marketing supervisor for the Clarksville Department of Parks and Recreation.
The million plus lights will cover a portion of the RiverWalk that runs about 7/10 of a mile. Throughout this area, people will be able to see familiar favorites like Toyland, the Victorian Village and the ever-popular tunnel of lights.
Because Clarksville wants all Families to come and experience Christmas on the Cumberland, visits to the display are free of charge. Families with pets are invited to bring them along to walk through the park, though they are not permitted in the audience or stage areas during special performances.
In addition to the holiday light presentation, Christmas on the Cumberland will feature a variety of Family-friendly activities and special performances each weekend, excluding Dec. 3 and 4.
Kicking off the events will be the opening ceremony Tuesday with Piper and his special guests. There will be plenty of live music to enjoy, courtesy of local musician Sam Haines and his band, Short Notice.
As the holiday season progresses, Santa will be sure to make a few more surprise weekend visits to McGregor Park, bringing along fun extras for the kids, including craft and cookie-decorating projects at the museum. Families can also expect live performances from choirs, carolers and local dance academies.
During weekend performances and special events, licensed vendors will be at McGregor Park offering concessions. For visitors with special needs, Warren’s Apothecary will be providing a limited number of manual wheelchairs at no charge.
McGregor Park’s Christmas light display will be open to the public through Jan. 2. Lights are on from 5 until 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the display will remain lit until 11 p.m.
Many Families in the area are already excited about Christmas on the Cumberland.
“We’ve already gone down and looked at what they’re putting up for this year,” said Barbie Holder, mother of two. “It’s nice to be able to make a tradition of something like this. I take the kids down there each year, and they love it.”
“As always, we are very excited about this year’s Christmas on the Cumberland,” said Waite. “Even after 12 years, it remains a popular part of Clarksville’s holiday season.”
Families interested in Christmas on the Cumberland and its included activities can get more information by visiting www.christmasonthecumberland.com or calling (931) 645-7476.
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Opening ceremony featuring Mayor Johnny Piper, Kris Kringle, Channel 4 Snowbird and Santa Claus. Live musical performance courtesy of Short Notice
Nov. 26-27, 6-8 p.m. - Santa’s Workshop. Children will have the opportunity to build arts and crafts and decorate cookies at the McGregor Park Museum.
Dec. 10-11, 6-8 p.m. - Local dance academies will perform holiday-themed routines at the McGregor Park stage area. Kids will receive another visit from Santa Claus.
Dec. 17-18, 6-8 p.m. - Holiday singing; audiences at the McGregor Park stage area can see live performances from carolers and local choirs. Kids will get another chance to visit with Santa Claus.