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The Highlands is an area of Louisville that leaves many different impressions on visitors and natives alike. It is a youthful and vibrant neighborhood to be sure, but also a colorful district in its own way that doesn't always suit varying tastes. Christmas, however, is the great leveler -- a holiday that brings families everywhere together to observe the same spirit of love and cheer -- and the Highlands will be contributing to the celebration with an attraction that also appeals to absolutely everyone: a Christmas festival!

In 1985, this tradition was born when, on the first Saturday of December, businesses along Bardstown Road all placed single glowing candles in their storefronts as welcoming symbols of peace. 26 years later, the custom continues, with the addition of many more fun features. For the first time this year, on Saturday, December 3, the festival will commence when Santa lights an enormous 30-foot spruce (direct from my homeland of Norway!) at the corner of Bardstown Road and Grinstead Drive (just outside of the Wendy's). At 5:45, Santa will arrive in serious style, riding in the famous "Red Glitter Limo," provided by 21C Museum Hotel. After the lights along Barret and Baxter Avenues, up to the Douglas Loop, have been officially illuminated, entertainment, food, drinks, and excellent discounts from Highland businesses will become available. Sidewalk musicians and the Marching Louisville Pipe Band will set the tone of the evening by providing the wonderful sound of Christmas carols as you stroll down Bardstown, and Santa will remain outside of Bearno's to take pictures with festival-goers (the pictures cost $5 each, and every penny will benefit the Gilda's Club on Baxter Avenue and those affected by cancer).

Transportation will also be provided on this perennially chilly night. A trolley will run from Lexington Avenue to the Douglas Loop for free, carrying the St. Paul UMC carolers with it, as well as the Winston's Holiday Van, which will run from Winston's Restaurant on the campus of Sullivan University. The Holiday Van will also be carrying TV and radio personality Terry Meiners, the LEO's Sara Havens, Clear Channel's Mary George, and Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge, all of whom will be judging the business' holiday decorations for the Grand Prize: the Griswold Award!

Of course, all of the stores and organizations along Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue will be offering their own special deals this night, so be sure to stop by your favorite! To view a number of these specials beforehand, simply visit the Highlands Commerce Guild website. For any additional information, contact Caroline Knop of Simply PR at (502)-721-8636 or [email protected]

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About Karen Ellestad

When I was seven and my brother was eight, we both wrote to 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' for a free t-shirt. Two weeks later his arrived in the mail, signed by Carmen Sandiego herself, accompanied by an autographed picture of the cast, an official membership to the 'Gumshoe Club,' and a Rockapella casette tape. I got a postcard.

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