KINGSBURG – The city of Kingsburg kicked off the beginning of the holiday season by holding its annual Holiday Kickoff.
On Nov. 4, the event took place downtown from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Downtown merchants welcomed the occasion by decking out and festooning their shops with holiday gifts and trappings.
In addition to stocking gifts only available at this time of the year, the downtown shops, which are typically open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, are celebrating the tradition by staying open until 8 p.m. one night a week. However, merchants have not decided what day of the week will have extended shopping hours as of report.
NEEDED MORE HOLIDAY FLARE
“Years ago, the city didn’t look like Christmas until about mid-December,” Svensk Butik Gift Shop owner, June Hess, said – which is why the city started the Holiday Kickoff and introduced Julgranfest.
Hess has owned Butik for 38 years. She imports and sells gifts from Scandinavia and has Christmas gifts year round for tourists.
“But I do bulk up inventory for the holidays,” Hess said.
Hess said with the Christmas banners going up and Christmas trees arriving next week, downtown is already starting to look festive in time for the holiday.
JULGRANFEST AND SANTA LUCIA
The Kickoff comes about each year during the first week in November. With its Swedish heritage, Kingsburg is widely regarded as the Christmas city in the Central Valley. And while holiday festivities continue right up until Christmas Day, for many in town the high point of the holiday season is Julgranfest, which takes place on the day after Thanksgiving.
Julgranfest is a Swedish word that translates to Christmas tree party. Each year, Kingsburg residents and throngs of visitors flock downtown for the annual tree lighting on Julgranfest. This year’s Julgranfest is taking place on Nov. 24 at 6 p.m.
As for this year’s Santa Lucia Celebration, the event is taking place on Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Gingerbread House Contest will take place at City Hall and the Rotary Club’s Festival of Lights Parade will kick off at 5:30 p.m.