Full slate of holiday events set for downtown Niles

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Downtown Niles will be the venue for several events and activities in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
And, Lisa Croteau, Downtown Development Authority director, said there will be more events on offer this year compared to previous years.
She said many downtown stores are staying open until between 7:30 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 4, 11 and 18, all Thursdays.
Croteau also said the Downtown Merchants Association is putting on the third annual "All I Want for Christmas" gift shop.
The shop, which sells items for five dollars or less and offers free gift wrapping, will also be open on Dec. 4, 11, and 18.
The gift shop will be located at 210 E. Main St. in what used to be the Old Kent Bank.
Croteau hopes the gift shop will continue the success it has experienced in the two previous years.
Although the gift shop will be open on Thursdays in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Croteau said the shop organizers have set aside a special time for seniors to come and shop on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m.
On Saturday, Dec. 6, from 8 to 11 a.m., there will be a Winter Wonderland sausage and pancake breakfast at the Apple Tree Restaurant, Croteau said.
She said the breakfast will be followed by a downtown shopping extravaganza.
But business and shopping isn't the only thing taking place in downtown Niles before Christmas.
On Thursday, Dec. 11, the Fort St. Joseph Museum is having an open house from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring Christmas with Dickens.
Carols and selected stories can be heard from Jill Brummett.
Brummett has done musical reviews since 1991 for social organizations, libraries and clubs in the Michiana area.
The last time she was in Niles, Brummett performed at the Niles District Library and sang songs from the American Civil War.
Children will receive a bag of treats and have a chance to meet with Father Christmas.
Also on Dec. 11, is an event for children at the Niles District Library.
Childrens librarian Darlene Jackson will read christmas carols starting at 6:30 p.m.
But before the December events even begin, Santa Claus will arrive at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater.
The Sunday Nov. 22 event is put on by the Four Flags Chamber of Commerce and begins at 11 a.m.
Karla Pierce, chamber executive assistant, said coloring books and candy canes will be given away to children and refreshments will be available to young and old.
Santa Claus will as usual arrive on one of Niles City Fire Department's fire trucks, Pierce said.
She said the event draws from 400 to 600 children each year.

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