From Christmas Lights to Santa’s Village, It’s a Winter Wonderland for All Ages.

by | Nov 2023

“I GREW UP n Bowling Green (BG) and have lived my whole life here,” said Downtown Development Coordinator Telia Butler. “My generation hung out at the mall, not in downtown. I don’t have memories of going shopping downtown and looking through store windows for Christmas gifts, but I love seeing children and their parents doing that for Downtown Bowling Green Lights Up [Downtown BGKY]. I enjoy inviting friends whose parents do have those Christmas memories, and it’s exciting to see them bringing their children for the first time. It’s really something special.” 

“A city’s downtown is its heart, which beats to keep the community alive,” said Butler. “It’s great to see the community visiting the heart of our city, which breathes more life into the Downtown BGKY scene. The people who host these events and those who attend are turning Downtown BG into something of a winter wonderland — a holiday village — a true destination that can be visited over and over. The spirit of the holidays rings true in the way these events bring goodwill and positivity to the heart of the city.” 

Light Up BGKY runs Nov. 27-Dec. 3 and is a community-driven week of holiday lightings to kick off the season, giving locals and visitors the opportunity to find holiday lights to explore throughout the entire season. Locations include Western Kentucky University’s Cherry Hall, Med Center Health Foundation’s Hospitality House, Riverview Holiday Market, and the historic RailPark L&N Depot, where a Christmas choir, hot chocolate, flag presentation, and plenty of food trucks will make your spirit bright. 

Friday, Dec. 1, Christmas on College Street returns for the first time in three years. Come by and greet city officials and tour city hall. Enjoy chocolates, candy, and treats, and pick up a complimentary 2024 wall calendar. Drop by the capitol for Storytime with the Grinch. Enjoy Downtown BGKY Lights Up, where the lighting of Fountain and Circus Squares will be staggered with the SKyPAC Community Christmas Tree. Unseen BG will begin their holiday-themed walking tour. Mistletoe Market at SoKY Marketplace will open, and you can enjoy “A Christmas Carol” by BG Onstage at SKyPAC. 

Hop on and off the trolley into a nostalgic wonderland as you stroll the window displays at Fountain Square and cast a vote for your favorite. Circus Square Park will host children’s events and activities, including the brand-new Santa’s Village, where the big guy himself will be visiting Fountain Square from the North Pole. SoKY Ice Rink will offer specials and host food trucks, and the restaurants and bars on Fountain Row will also join in the holiday celebration. 

“These events bring BG and Warren County residents closer to the heart of the city, make elected officials accessible, and provide free programming for our community,” said Butler. “Not everyone has the chance, or means, to drive through Christmas lights or attend Christmas concerts and shows. This brings joy to the community and breathes more life into the Downtown BGKY scene for our businesses, restaurants, and bars. Over 5,000 people attend the lighting events annually, making core memories and creating a deeper sense of community. 

Saturday, Dec. 2, lace up your running shoes for the Life’s Better Together annual “Miracle on College Street.” The 1-mile run begins at 9 a.m., followed by the 67th annual Jaycees Christmas Parade at 9:30 a.m. The parade route will start on College Street by the square. The theme is “Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child.” 

“The Christmas Parade is one of my favorite memories as a child. I always loved the excitement of the event. My committee truly enjoys the opportunity to continue this nearly 70-year tradition and hopes it starts off the Christmas season for our community,” said parade chairman Mary-John Carmon. “All funds from this event go back into our community through community projects and events. This year, we are so thrilled to have music artist and BG native Trevor Martin as our Grand Marshal.” 

Martin is a 2019 graduate of Belmont University and has performed for Country Music Television, as well as some of the best venues in Nashville. He is also a successful actor, and in 2022, his song, “Keeper,” went viral, launching Martin’s thrilling career to over 3 million streams on platforms online. GN 

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