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Wednesday, November 17,2010

Silver Bells, Golden songs

Radio Disney singer, holiday market highlight 26th annual gala

by Christopher Horb

‘Tis the season once again.


Silver Bells in the City, the festival that has delighted area residents since 1985 returns to, literally, light up downtown Lansing Friday.


For this year’s event, original founders, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing has turned over the reins to Downtown Lansing Inc., a group that is more than ready for the challenge.


“Coordinating large special events is nothing new for our organization,” said DLI executive director Mindy Biladeau. “It’s been a pretty seamless transition."


The Lansing Board of Water and Light remains the signature sponsor.


Although the event is entering its 26th year, organizers say that they have plenty of new attractions to keep visitors enthralled. Chief among them: a concert by Radio Disney star Josh Golden and the debut of Silver Bells Village, a holiday market featuring artists and food vendors.


In an attempt to draw in older kids this year, Silver Bells features the Radio Disney Road Crew hosting activities for ‘tweens, culminating in a concert on the Capitol steps by 16-year-old singer-songwriter Golden.


“All the new elements complement the usual major attractions,” Biladeau said. “It’s going to be high-energy, good family fun." As for Silver Bells Village, “there really wasn’t a central shopping component (in previous years),” Biladeau said. “This will give local vendors a chance to show their wares.”


Another new element visitors can look forward to is the debut of a Silver Bells in the City commemorative ornament created by Ciesa Design, a local group.


“It’s something to collect that will change every year,” Biladeau said. “This really is a family event and buying the ornament allows families to have a keepsake.”


The
traditions of Silver Bells include an electric light parade to the
Capitol steps, as well as the lighting of the official state tree,
topped off by fireworks over the Capitol dome.


According to Biladeau, over 150,000 people attended last year’s event.


Bileadeau
is thankful to a crew of 100, which included a volunteer coordinating
committee that labored for eight months to put together the free event,
which features nearly 50 downtown cultural institutions. It is,
according to Bileadeau, “showcasing the re-vitalization of downtown.”




Silver Bells highlights


5
p.m. - 9 p.m. Silver Bells Village market at 100 E. Allegan St.


6:10
p.m. Electric Light Parade


7:15 p.m. Lighting of official State Tree



7:30 p.m. Fireworks over the Capitol dome


7:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m. Josh
Golden concert on the Capitol steps


For a complete schedule, visit www.silverbellsinthecity.org




Silver Bells specials


Troppo (111 E. Michigan Ave.) offers a heated patio for fireworks-watchers, plus appetizers for $25. (517) 371-4000


Brannigan Brothers (210 South Washington Square) has $3 hot chocolate for kids and $3 wines for adults, plus specials on Irish coffee. (517) 702-8001


Michigan Brewing Co. (402 South Washington Square) will sell three doughnuts for $1, as well as $1 cups of hot cocoa, cider and coffee on the heated patio.


YMCA (119 North Washington Square) will
host its first-ever Silver Bells party for members, who are asked to
bring a dish to pass. Facilities close for regular use at 4 p.m (517)
484-4000.

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