RISING SUN — They're preparing to party in Center Square Saturday and again on Tuesday and everyone is invited.
Winter Extravaganza will be held in Rising Sun Saturday from 4 until 8 p.m. followed by the Annual Christmas Carol Sing Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We're so excited to have another community event," said Rising Sun Mayor Travis Marion. "The 2019 Extravaganza was fantastic. We had thousands of people come out to our community."
The second Winter Extravaganza – the Christmas version of the town's popular Sunfest – in 2020 but the pandemic canceled both events last year. For that reason Marion wants this second Winter Extravaganza to be tons of free family fun.
"We'll have free s'mores and hot chocolate stations," he said. Snow machines will add to the ambience as visitors lace up free ice skates and get on the rink that will be set up where Main, Queen and Pearl Streets converge.
"For those that don't know how to skate there will be ice walkers," Marion said.
Businesses in the center of Rising Sun will also be involved.
"Rise N Grind is hosting a holiday market so you can get a jump on your Christmas shopping," the mayor said.
Be Free Boutique will be handing out cookies for kids and adult beverages in the store at 12 East Main.
"We'll also feature holiday gift baskets," said Christie Stephens, part owner of Be Free.
Queen Street Nutrition, 2 South Queen St., will offer another opportunity to shop with its Craft Bazaar including handmade crafts, raffles and photos with The Grinch from 4 until 8 p.m.
Other vendors will be on site for additional shopping plus Janes United Methodist Church will be selling refreshments.
The skating rink will operate from 3:30 until 7:30. When it is closed signals the lighting of the town Christmas tree.
"This new tree is about 30 feet tall," the mayor said.
Tom Connelly is also excited that the Christmas Carol Sing can be live and in person this year.
"It'll be great to be back out in the square," Connelly, who has organized the event for years, said Tuesday. "Last year it had to be virtual."
Come whether you know all the words or not because song sheets will be distributed for the event, which begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in front of Rising Sun Town Hall, 1 East Main St. Connelly picks the tunes.
"I'm a traditional kind of guy," he said. So expect some of the time honored favorites that he can use legally. That includes 'White Christmas' and 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.'
"I actually got to talk to the son of that man that wrote it," he said, referring to Johnny Marks, the composer of the song about Rudolph. "I told him what we were doing and he said, "Great! Dad would love that."
Connelly said this will be the 52nd Christmas Carol Sing and he's been around long enough to remember them all.
"It was an outreach originally from Morning Cheer," he said. (Morning Cheer is now known as Sandy Cove) Other groups got involved including the Rising Sun Lions Club, which turned it into a community event. He also remembers when a piano would be brought into square on a flatbed truck and played over the years by Betty Yerkes, Ginny Hudson and now Chris Bradfield.
Bradfield, a retired Cecil County Public Schools music teacher and choral director at Janes United Methodist Church in Rising Sun, will play an electric piano on the porch of Rising Sun Town Hall.
Connelly said the weather will drive the length of the Christmas Carol Sing.
"If it's in the 40s we might sing for 30 to 45 minutes," he said. "If it's real cold we might do 20 minutes."
Regardless of how long you sing, you can also enjoy a cup of hot chocolate on the square.
If you'd like to come in from the cold Angie Vanderhoef, owner of Rise N Grind Cafe said she would stay open Tuesday night for those in need of hot coffee or specialty lattes.