The upcoming weekend holiday festival will make certain that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Friday through Sunday (Dec. 3-5), the Bluff City Christmas Experience will invade the Hickory Ridge Mall with food, entertainment, bargain shopping and a Christmas parade.
“We are excited about hosting the Bluff City Christmas Experience in the Hickory Hill community,” said Telisa Franklin, better known for staging the city’s Juneteenth celebration. “All events have been designed to offer fun for the whole family. Christmas is a time for family and giving, and we want to celebrate that.”
Friday evening’s kick-off event features holiday shopping and carols, along with featured recording artist Courtney Little as the evening’s entertainment.
Those attending are asked to wear their “ugliest Christmas sweaters.”
Saturday is the holiday highlight, a Christmas parade, starting on the southeast side of the mall, with a route circling the mall.
After the parade, the experience will feature, inside, a Christmas exhibit, carousel rides for the children, a live entertainment lineup and more food and shopping.
An estimated 50 groups and more than 30 businesses have signed up for the parade.
Sunday, a Christmas Taste Test will be sponsored by area restaurants and caterers to benefit Porter-Leath Children’s Center. A sampling of eatery favorites will be provided for attendees.
Shelby County Drug Court Judge Tim Dwyer is the grand marshal of the parade. He is known for giving nonviolent adult offenders with drug-related criminal charges a second chance.
The honorary grand marshal is Devante Hill, a local pastor and community activist.
Franklin feels the weekend of events around Christmas is a great tradition to begin for the Hickory Hill community.
“So much is said about the crime and murder rates involving young people in this community,” said Franklin. “Our children and families should be encouraged with positive experiences, and they should not have to go outside of their community to find those events and activities.
“This is the first of what we hope will be many more years of getting families out at the mall to enjoy the holiday season. Vendors and businesses will enjoy an economic boost as well. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Franklin said people from all over the city are invited to attend the Bluff City Christmas Experience. There is free admission for all three days.
Hickory Ridge Mall is at 6075 Winchester Road. For more information, visit www.BluffCityChristmas.com.