By Echo Menges
The Knox County Courthouse Courtyard in Edina will be a main attraction this holiday weekend on Small Business Saturday, November 27, 2021.
This year new events have been added to the annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas season event to encourage the community to spend their gift giving dollars locally.
In the past, people came to know the event as “Shop Edina First”, then the “Knox County Christmas Celebration” after the Edina Chamber of Commerce became the Knox County Chamber of Commerce.
This year, the event has been named the “Christmas Extravaganza” and it has been moved up two full weeks to Small Business Saturday, which began during the early height of the pandemic in 2020.
The Knox County Chamber of Commerce is bringing back tried and true events including the annual Soup Supper, Hayrides, Gift Fair, a visit from a firetruck riding Santa, Cookie Decorating and Letters to Santa.
New to this year’s Christmas Extravaganza is a Magic Tree Lighting, Christmas Car Light Up Show and Holiday Treat Crawl for a hybrid event combining the new attractions with the old.
Knox County Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Lisa Bosch send staffer Karrie Jo Holman to a conference in Hannibal called Creating Entrepreneurial Communities at the end of September.
“We learned ways to get more community businesses involved in the community and get more businesses to open here, want to stay here, bring in attractions and just make people want to be here,” said Karrie Jo Holman about the conference.
The idea of having a Magic Tree was launched while brainstorming with Dr. Bosch after Bosch visited the Magic Tree in Columbia, MO. The team pitched their ideas to the Chamber Board of Directors, which was open to try new options. With the earliness of this year’s event, the organization of the Christmas Extravaganza had to be executed with a quickness.
A whopping 30,000 lights were ordered by the Chamber in hopes that donors would help shore up dwindling Chamber funds to support the Magic Tree push.
The lights are mini multicolored and white LED lights. Each strand came at a cost of $30 with 300 lights on each strand with 100 strands purchased.
The City of Edina’s City Superintendent also signed on to get the Edina Town Square decorated ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend and the Knox County Commission agreed to light the courthouse “holiday style” giving their blessing on using the courtyard and only Christmas like tree to decorate.
Taking it a step further, the Commission offered a space in the courtyard for a Knox County Christmas Tree to be planted for future years. That tree is expected to arrive in Edina this week.
The lights arrived Friday, November 19, and Chamber volunteers got busy figuring out how to get them on the tree, a Cypress located in the southwest corner of the courtyard.
After a challenging start, nearly 3,000 lights were added on Saturday, November 20, and 2,500 more on Sunday, November 21.
This week, Chamber volunteers will be pushing to get the tree fully decorated before Thanksgiving weekend. Anyone with a tall ladder and motivation to help is welcome to lend a hand.
The Magic Tree Lighting has been scheduled to coincide with Santa’s arrival at the Christmas Extravaganza, 5:00 p.m. on November 27, which also coincides with Knox County High School Choir singing in the courtyard set to begin at the same time.
It is hoped that the outdoor portion of the event will be well attended locally and the community comes away with a happy holiday experience – along with supporting local businesses and vendors. See the full schedule on Page 6.