Christmas in the Heart of Charleston



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Enter to win prizes and bragging rights for your display of holiday spirit at your house! Overall Best Holiday Spirit sponsored by Emily Floyd, Managing Broker- Coldwell Banker Classic Real Estate; Most Creative sponsored by Cooper-Bumpus Insurance Agency, and Best Use of Holiday Lighting sponsored by First Federal Savings and Loan.  Judges are from the Charleston CAN Beautification committee and Adams Family Lightshow will provide plaques and a cash prize.
Register by December 15




Christmas in the Heart of Charleston 2023 was so much fun, follow us on Facebook to see photos and posts about the event. There is also a photo gallery link in the menu at the left on this page.  See you next year!

Don't miss this fun and free event on Charleston's Historic Downtown Square the first Saturday of December each year!

Featuring this year: Parade, Ice Skating Rink, Games, Carriage Rides, Santa; Music, and more! Santa Paws Contest at 3:15, parade starts at 3:45 and all other activities from 4-6 pm. 

If you are delivering your Gingerbread House to the square for the contest, please bring your decorated house to 500 6th Street any time after 2:00 pm and before 5:00 pm on Saturday, December 2. There will be volunteers there to assist you. 

Click here for map of Downtown Festivities!
Schedule of events:
3:15 pm- Santa Paws Contest with prizes from Fetchers and doggie treats from Doodle Day Spa-  on southeast corner of square, courthouse side.
3:45 pm- Parade travels up 7th street, west on Monroe, south on 6th street, ending at Van Buren
4:30 pm- Tree Lighting sponsored by Prairie State Bank, trees provided by Hager Tree Farm, designed by Castle and Cottage, decorated by Charleston CAN Beautification, lighting provided by Midwest Softwash Holiday Lighting, CHS Maximum Forte will perform- east side of courthouse lawn
4:00 pm- 6 pm:
Skating Rink and DJ Mike James music and light show across from City Hall on Jackson
Santa's Visit sponsored by First Neighbor Bank- City Hall Lobby
Kids Ornament Making sponsored by Coles County Arts Council and Charleston Arts CAN- City Hall Basement, can enter on east side of building, kids make an ornament to be placed on the Community Tree in the Gazebo Park
Kids Game Tents sponsored by Hilton Garden Inn, Pilson Auto, SBLH- three tents on 6th Street with prizes and candy for kids
Horse and Carriage Rides- pick up on northwest side of square
Gingerbread House Contest sponsored by Diepholz Auto and staffed by Charleston One Community CAN- 500 6th Street
Live Nativity sponsored by Family Worship Center- north side of courthouse
Dance Performance by DanceLife - west side of courthouse
Officer Doughnut courtesy of the Charleston Police Department will be parked at the corner of Jackson and 7th Streets
Courthouse Tunnel Tours- meet in courthouse rotunda
Food and Drink
Free Hot Cocoa- WB's Bar and Grill on 7th St.
Free Hot Cocoa and Register for $250 gift card- sponsored by Country Financial- south side of square courthouse side
Free Chestnuts Roasting- sponsored by Knights of Columbus- south side of square opposite courthouse
Free Kettle Korn- sponsored by Central Christian Church- Jackson Ave west side
Free Cookies - sponsored by Casey's General Store- in the Charleston Tent on 6th and Jackson courthouse side
Free Cuties- sponsored by Charleston County Market- in the Charleston Tent 
Three Mini Donuts for a Dollar- Donut Dollies food truck will be on Jackson courthouse side, tickets for $1 cinnamon-sugar mini-donuts for purchase at the Charleston Tent while supplies last; Donut Dollies will have regular menu items available for purchase
Live Music
After the parade and until 5:30 pm- Charleston Community Band Sax Quartet and Brass Quintet in the Courthouse Rotunda
4:30 pm- CHS Maximum Forte at tree lighting- west side of courthouse
4:45 pm- CMS Harmonix- Moose Lodge on 7th Street
5:00 pm- East Central Chorale- Gazebo Park at corner of 6th and Monroe
5:10 pm- CHS Maximum Forte- Moose Lodge on 7th Street
5:35 pm- Jefferson 6th-Grade Chorus- Moose Lodge on 7th Street

Arts in the Heart
The Coles County Arts Council and the Charleston Arts CAN are installing mini-masterpieces from local and regional artists inside select shops on the square, be sure to stop in the open shops to look for these mini creations! 


gingerbread houseGingerbread House Decorating Workshop and Contest
Diepholz Auto Group of Charleston is hosting a  free Gingerbread House building and decorating workshop on Friday, December 1, from 5-7 pm at the Charleston Dealership for kids (kids must be accompanied by an adult.) Everything needed to build and decorate your house, along with some hot cocoa and treats will be provided. If you decide to participate in the contest too, Diepholz Auto staff will transport your house to the square. Please register for the workshop here. 

Regardless of how or where you build and decorate your gingerbread house, consider entering it in our Gingerbread House Decoration Contest! Bring your decorated house to 500 6th Street any time after 2:00 pm and before 5:00 pm on Saturday, December 2. Prizes will be given to the best decorated house in the child, adult, and family/group categories, and the winning houses will remain on display on the square for the season. 
Please register for the contest here. 

Santa Paws Contest!santa dog
Get Fido involved in the holiday festivities for Christmas in the Heart of Charleston! Dress your dog in the holiday spirit. We will gather on the downtown square (southeast corner) at 3:15 pm for judging. Awards go to Most Creative, Best Duo (owner and dog), and Cutest. Thanks to our sponsor Fetchers Pet Supply! All dogs must be leashed and able to be in the company of other dogs. Doodle Day Spa will be providing doggie treats!  Register here.

Many thanks to our Premiere Event Sponsors!
First Neighbor Bank Vertical Color Logo sblh logo hilton garden inn logo prairie state bank
diepholz-logo Pilson Ram tagged_322 hager tree midwest softwash red green logo
Additional Sponsors:      
Lifetime Eyecare Drake Roofing and Siding Charleston Appliance Adams Memorials
Hutti Chiropractic Fetchers Pet Supply People's Bank & Trust FirstMid Bank & Trust
NE-CO Asphalt TCI Realty Casey's General Store Charleston County Market
Doodle Day Spa Country Financial    
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