Greenwood Aglow adds holiday market to tree lighting event

Even in the chill of a late November evening, the warm glow of the Christmas season will be burning bright at the newest addition to Greenwood’s signature holiday event.

People will be able to walk the Kris Kringle Market, part of the annual Greenwood Aglow lighting, looking for gifts, decorations and other festive fare from holiday-related vendors and local merchants. They can warm themselves around a crackling bonfire and sip warm beverages to add to the atmosphere.

“There’s a feeling of community and excitement around the start of a brand-new tradition,” said Molly Laut, city spokesperson. “We’re adding on to an existing event that already attracts a good number of people, and hoping to engage the community in a brand-new event.”

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The market adds a new dimension to Greenwood Aglow, already one of the city’s most popular yearly gatherings. Families can take carriage rides around the Old Town area, meet live reindeer and get their photos taken with Santa Claus at the Greenwood Public Library.

All of it culminates with the lighting of the city’s tree and downtown decorations, the official start of the holiday season.

“Greenwood Aglow has become a tradition for many of our families,” says Jane Weisenbach, director of development at the Greenwood Public Library. “We are excited to present this fun-filled event that brings the whole family together for a free night to kick off the holiday season. With Santa, reindeer, and Christmas caroling — it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The idea for the Kris Kringle Market was born earlier in the summer. Construction projects and road closures in the Old Town area had made a significant impact on the city’s businesses.

“We realized that our downtown businesses were taking a major hit because of the construction we had going on. At the same time, we were building this beautiful new parking lot east of the library, which would be a perfect place for something new,” Laut said.

In a discussion with Scott Eanes, owner of Take Root Country Store, the idea of a holiday market sprang forth. City officials thought it would be a positive addition, and they went to work recruiting local businesses to take part.

The result is a lineup of 30 vendors taking part in the inaugural market, Laut said. Greenwood-based Fire Pit Restoration Landscape will be creating a cozy bonfire corner where people can get warm in between shopping.

“They’re all either located in downtown Greenwood, or they’re a craft-handmade holiday business,” she said. “It all falls under that ‘buy local’ handmade thing.”

The Greenwood Public Library, which organizes the other Greenwood Aglow activities, was excited to partner with the city on something that will only enhance the holiday lighting, Weisenbach said.

“It’s the chance for some holiday shopping and some extra things for people to do,” Weisenbach said.

The new addition of the Kris Kringle Market bolsters the existing Greenwood Aglow activities, which have become traditions over the years, Weisenbach said.

Carriage rides will taken revelers on a loop around the library and on the newly built Surina Way. Silly Safari will feature three animal shows, in addition to bringing live reindeer so kids can see the cousins of Donner, Blitzen and the rest of Santa’s team.

Library staff plan to lead holiday-themed crafts, while singing groups help set the mood with carols and other holiday fun. Food will be available to purchase from the Kiwanis Club.

One of the most exciting developments is that all of the activities, with the exception of photos with Santa, are free, Weisenbach said. And Santa photos are only $1 apiece, or you can take your own for free, she said.

Sponsors such as Friends of Greenwood Public Library, DeBoor Realty, Edward Jones, Old National Bank and the Johnson County Community Foundation helped ensure that the event is as low-cost at possible, Weisenbach said.

“It’s pretty exciting that you can do carriage rides, crafts, a photo booth, get a glow stick, all for free,” she said. “It used to be a minimal charge for almost everything, but our sponsors even took care of that.”

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Greenwood Aglow

What: The annual holiday lighting and celebration for Greenwood

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Greenwood Public Library, 310 S. Meridian St.


  • Kris Kringle Market, a gathering of 30 local vendors selling holiday-related items and other goodies.
  • Carriage rides
  • Crafts
  • Live reindeer and animal shows by Silly Safari
  • Photos with Santa for $1
  • Music by local choirs
  • Lighting of Greenwood’s Christmas tree