Holiday Stroll set to be hosted downtown in November

T-R FILE PHOTO The 28th annual Holiday Stroll sponsored by the Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 17 in downtown Marshalltown. It will be modified to work around construction areas. This year’s theme is “Light up the Night.”

Construction zones, courthouse repairs and the lingering fingerprints of the July 19 tornado have not deterred the Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) and its planning committee from hosting the annual Holiday Stroll. The event, now in its 28th year, will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 17.

This year’s theme is “Light up the Night.”

“We’re working with the city and county to have everything lit up — safety fences, scaffolding, businesses — everything,” MCBD Director Jenny Etter said.

The festivities will stretch Third Avenue to Third Street along Main Street and will include live entertainment, food vendors and children’s activities. Downtown businesses will have extended hours so people can come in and enjoy refreshments and browse merchandise.

Most of the activities will be headquartered at Xtreme Dance, the Tallcorn, Van Gogh’s and various churches. Santa’s Workshop, sponsored and organized by the Time-Republican’s marketing department, will be set up at Xtreme Dance.

The evening parade, horse-drawn carriage rides and Tiny Tim Tree Festival have all been postponed until 2019.

Again this year, the Holiday Stroll will be co-chaired by mother/daughter designers Debra Hippler and Alushia Fitzgerald of Staging 2 Sell It — a downtown business that also sustained serious tornado damage.

“It’s important for people to realize that the downtown is going to come back better than ever,” Hippler said. “We want everything to be colorful, bright and cheerful for the event.”

She and Fitzgerald are accepting donations of string lights and Christmas trees. The donations will go to assist businesses in decorating their storefronts.

“We enjoy putting our creative stamp on this and make those connections in the community,” Fitzgerald said. “We know a lot of people come downtown to look at the damage. Let’s instead highlight all the businesses that have reopened.”

The official schedule of events is still being finalized.

“We’re going to make it work. We have a lot to be thankful for. We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have a really good holiday. (Tornado damage) is not going to keep us down,” Etter said.

For questions about donations contact Hippler at 309-368-9920 and Fitzgerald at 641-750-7797. Etter may be reached at 641-844-2001 and director@marshalltownmainstreet.org.

Volunteers are needed.

The MCBD, founded in 2002, is a non-profit organization.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

(641) 753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com