LACONIA — The city will kick off the holiday season on Sunday with the Light Up Laconia festival, taking place downtown.
As usual, there will be a parade, but this year the route is reversed: It will start at 4:30 p.m. at Opechee Park, head down North Main Street and Main Street, and end at Stewart Park, where the city’s Holiday Tree will be lit at 5:30 p.m.
Revelers should make their way downtown earlier, though, because there are more activities planned this year.
The Belknap Mill will be offering its “Yuletide Traditions” program, which includes a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, from 1 to 3 p.m.
The Light Up Laconia events, organized by Celebrate Laconia, will take place in Rotary Park from 1 to 6 p.m. There will be music and caroling, a toy donation drive, cookie-decorating, a hot cocoa bar, sled dog demonstration starting at 3 p.m., and children’s games and activities.
After the lighting of the tree, the Belknap Mill will be showing a family-friendly holiday movie.
Beth San Soucie, president of Celebrate Laconia, said, “I cannot express how much I appreciate the dedication of our volunteer-driven planning committee and the support of our sponsors. It’s really quite magical. I hope the community enjoys it!”
In addition to the cookies and cocoa, Celebrate Laconia is making sure that there will be plenty to eat, with seven food trucks to be parked alongside Rotary Park.
A couple of those will be run by local folks. Krystle Stewart, who runs the home-based baking company The Cooling Rack, will be bringing her truck to the festival for only her second event.
“I’m working on getting my name out there. I want to learn more and do more events,” Stewart said.
Her food truck started as an old camper in need of a lot of help. Her family and friends all lent a hand in convert it for food service.
She plans to bring a variety of sweet treats, such as cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and whoopie pies.
“I’m excited. Hopefully, they have a good turnout,” Stewart said.
For something on the savory side, Ross Tine and his family will be serving hot pizza slices.
Tine, who owns the Sal’s Pizza franchise in Laconia, said he was happy to lend his pizzas in support of the community-building event.
“Any way we can help to make Laconia a stronger, better place, I’m all about it,” he said.
He’s also looking forward to working the event with his wife and two young girls. “It gives us time to be together and interact with the community.”