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Several weeks of holiday celebrations will take place in Downtown St. Joseph this year.

As the days grow shorter and colder, nothing lifts the spirit like festive lights and a cup of hot cocoa.

Holiday celebrations have expanded in Downtown St. Joseph over the last few years, and this year’s festivities will span four weekends, making this season’s celebration the largest yet.

Grass-roots efforts raised $50,000 for a 25-foot Christmas tree and lights to be placed Downtown last year, supported by a $10,000 grant funded by the transient guest tax. The tree and lights installed at Coleman Hawkins Park at Felix Street Square, and the gazebo in 2018 will be reused and installed by the St. Joseph Parks Department, in addition to lights costing $15,000, paid for again through the transient guest fund.

The festivities will kick off on Saturday, Nov. 30, which coincides with Small Business Saturday, and will feature discounts and promos for Downtown shoppers. Downtown First will present the Holidays Downtown Kickoff and Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. at the gazebo. In addition, there will be carriage rides, visits with Santa, free hot cocoa, free face painting for kids, a performance by the Christ Episcopal Choir from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. and more.

On Friday, Dec. 6, Manic Snail will host Krampusnacht, a traditional Austrian and Central European folklore celebration featuring the horned Krampus creature. The evening begins with a Krampus photo op and origin story at 6:30 p.m. at Manic Snail, followed by a parade around Felix Street Square at 7:30 p.m. led by Pyro Tribe and a fire show at approximately 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, Missouri Western State University will present the Griffon Block Party Downtown featuring promos and specials for students, faculty and alumni. Dec. 7 also is the monthly First Saturday featuring discounts and specials for all Downtown shoppers. There also will be carriage rides, visits with Santa, free hot cocoa and a story hour with Will Stuck at 4 p.m. at Manic Snail.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, Winter Magic Downtown will feature the Winter Princess, a royal fashion show for kids, free face painting, free magic wands, free hot cocoa, a Vintage Christmas Celebration at Restoration Church, the “Home for the Holidays” symphony concert, and much more.

On Saturday, Dec. 21, the Downtown Association presents Home for the Holidays Downtown, including last-minute shopping opportunities, dining specials, carriage rides, free hot cocoa and more. The Missouri Theater will host showings of “Christmas at the Chateau,” a Christmas movie filmed in St. Joseph.

From Nov. 30 to Dec. 22, visitors will have the chance to vote for their favorite holiday shop window during Merry Memories: A Holiday Window Tour.

Holiday fans will be able to watch more lighting ceremonies at two of St. Joseph’s most popular holiday parks.

The mayor, city manager and parks department staff will host the annual Holiday park Lighting at Krug Park Lagoon at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Families are welcome to attend and even help flip the switch to turn on the park lights. Attendees can enjoy light refreshments and share in the historic park’s festivities.

South Side Progressive and the mayor will host the annual South Pole Lighting Ceremony at Hyde Park at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29 at the Gazebo.

There will be family-friendly entertainment, visits with Santa and light refreshments.

Jessica Kopp can be reached at jessica.kopp@newspressnow.com or you can follow her on Twitter: @NPNOWKopp