For those of you who know me, it is no secret that I am the number one fan of the annual Independence Christmas Walk. This year’s walk will occur on Saturday, December 1 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Don’t miss the lighted Christmas Parade that kicks off the event at 5:45 p.m.
Attending this event for the first time was such a profound experience that I feel it as my civic duty to promote this event as much as possible. A couple years ago, this nostalgic holiday walk through our Mayberry-like town featured small holiday displays, entertainment, and craft stops mainly through the town square. It was small, quaint, and memorable.
Over the years, the Walk has now grown bringing an estimated 10,000 patrons to our city. The easy Christmas Walk stroll is now an extensive journey extending all the way down to our neighborhood Skyline Chili. I remember taking my parents last year after my years of raving about the walk. Because I have two little daughters, we had to start at the Camel Rides located at the Senior Center. To my dismay, my parents were confused and wondered, “Where did the little walk go?” Because so many more displays, vendors, etc. had joined in this holiday extravaganza, we had little time to make our way to the town square to tour the Metcalf-Stephens-Rienersmann Victorian House and to visit the elf toy shop to sample the chocolate fountain. Needless-to-say, I had failed to anticipate the growth of the Walk, and due to my poor planning, our Christmas Walk experience turned into Christmas Walk confusion.
To help those of you attending this amazing event for the first time, I have put together a few tips to ensure that you choose the right leg of walk for you and your family.
1) BABYBOOMERS AND OLDER: If you are like my parents, baby boomer age or above, and have an hour or so to spare, I would suggest spending the majority of your time in the town square. Definitely visit the Victorian House, it is a must-see. This leg of the journey will cross paths with holiday choir ensembles and give you the nostalgic “Mayberry” experience this demographic craves.
2) TEENS: If you are a teen or parent of a teen, you might want to start at the Fire Station. Last year, this seemed like the teen hangout. The space is much more open for “teen-like” behavior, standing about, texting, socializing, etc. Plus, if teens want to make their way up to the town square they don’t mind the walk or hitching a ride with a tractor, TANK, Shuttle Bus, or horse-drawn wagon.
3) SMALL CHILDREN: If you are like me and are the parent of a four and six year old, come prepared. You will want to dust off that stroller, bring blankets, etc. The walking gets tiring but the kids love to be outside this time of year bundled under a warm blanket. My girls loved the parade (starts at 5:45 pm) which you can see from just about anywhere along the Walk. If your children are like mine and want to visit the popular Camel Rides, I would go there FIRST. I remember the disappointment on a little girl’s face who was the next one in line before the ride shut down for the evening. If camels are not your thing and I had to pick a spot to start, I would stay near the town square, particularly if you have limited time. You can hit more spots, see more displays, and your children can participate in a wide variety of activities. This leg works well for little ones whose attention span is their age. On the other hand if you have teens AND small children, the Senior Center offers a place to get inside, get warm and enjoy activities, like face painting which is always popular with the little ones. Warning: Last year, the lines did get a little long.
4) COUPLES: Oh to be in love this time of year. For couples who have no children and all the time in the world, enjoy this romantic walk and all the stops. For you, I’m sure you will see the warmth in every aspect of the walk.
A note on parking: