An Old Town Greenwood business and a local organization are teaming up to start a new holiday tradition — a Christmas celebration and tree lighting.
Folktale’s Old Town Christmas is the result of a collaboration between the Folktale Event Center, 243 S. Madison Avenue, and Greenwood Pride, a nonprofit that produces LGBTQ+ pride events. The Christmas celebration will feature live music from Anneliese & Ali, DJ A.I. with Bates Black Tie and other special guests, along with food and drinks.
It will also include Old Town’s first public Christmas tree lighting in a number of years. A 10-foot tall tree will be placed on a platform for all to see when the free event takes place on Nov. 25, said Suzanne Fortenberry, president and director of Greenwood Pride.
The idea for the event dates back to a meeting between Katie Henrichs, owner of Folktale, and John Michael Jones, the founder and assistant director of Greenwood Pride. Jones had come to Folktale to check out the venue and meet with Henrichs when the idea came up.
“We decided that because there hadn’t been Greenwood-A-Glow in several years in Old Town Greenwood that this would be a great place to have it because it’s just such a beautiful house,” Jones said.
Greenwood-A-Glow was a Christmas tree lighting event that used to be put on by the city and the Old Town Greenwood Association. At some point, control of the festivities was given to the Greenwood Public Library, but there hasn’t been a tree lighting in several years, Fortenberry said.
“The city does so many great events through the years that they had let the tree lighting go, they’ve given it to the library. They didn’t do it anymore,” Fortenberry said. “So when we decided, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be a great way to highlight all these local businesses in the area?’ We went to the city and talked to them and got their blessing.”
Though similar in some ways to Greenwood-A-Glow, it is not the same event, Jones said.
Because the event is taking place on Black Friday, it is a perfect opportunity for people to shop at businesses in Old Town. The timing of the event also gives residents an alternative to going to the Circle of Lights in Indianapolis, which takes place an hour later, Fortenberry said.
“It’s always fun to go to downtown Indy, it’s just so hard to get around and park,” she said. “But there’s a lot of great restaurants here. … It’s nice to be able to support businesses because everybody’s struggling with the construction. It’s much needed, but it’s been hard to stay open while it’s under construction.”
The holiday celebration will also have a coloring contest for kids, who can color in what they think Folktale should look like for Christmas. GPL is assisting organizers with the contest, said Bretta Thompson, events coordinator for Folktale Event Center and owner of Just The Two of Us Wedding Services.
Commemorative engraved wooden ornaments will also be available for purchase, Fortenberry said.
One of the most important appearances of all is from a man coming from the North Pole.
“We will have an appearance from Santa Claus. He’ll be the one actually lighting the tree for us,” Henrichs said.
Attendees will also be able to tour Folktale, which will be all decked out in Christmas lights, she said.
The 1800s-built home is part of the city’s history, and Henrichs and her husband have spent a lot of time renovating the home. With the event, the owners of Folktale wanted to make something special for the community to be able to come together in the historic space, Henrichs said.
“The tree lighting, I felt, was a really good way to bring the communities together in this old house we have here,” she said.
For Thompson, the celebration symbolizes an old-fashioned Christmas feeling. A lot of people miss that, she said.
“It’s hard to find and that’s something that Folktale was really wanting to give the community,” Thompson said.
The organizers are hoping to start a new tradition with Old Town Christmas. The event is another reason to support Old Town and enjoy the investment that city officials have made in the last decade, Fortenberry said.
Jones grew up in Greenwood, and throughout his childhood, the big thing to do was to go to Old Town and see the city light the tree for Greenwood-A-Glow. It is nostalgic to think about another tree lighting in Greenwood, he said.
“If you look online, people are always bashing and saying don’t go in Old Town, and it’s really not bad. I don’t think it’s terrible at all,” Jones said. “I would much rather come to a place down here that’s locally owned and a friendly, hometown atmosphere and so that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Greenwood Pride plans family activities throughout the year and Old Town Christmas is the latest example, Fortenberry said.
“This is Christmas. It’s about love and family and being together so that’s what we’re trying to achieve,” she said.
IF YOU GO
Folktale’s Old Town Christmas
What: A Christmas celebration with live music, food and drinks to be capped off with a tree lighting. Music will be performed by Anneliese & Ali, DJ A.I. with Bates Black Tie and other special guests. Santa Claus will also make an appearance.
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 25; Tree lighting takes place at 7 p.m.
Where: Folktale Event Center, 243 S. Madison Avenue, Greenwood.
Cost: Free to attend. Food and drinks are available for purchase.
More information: https://fb.me/e/2oGy0RUui