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(Teresa Lemon - Daily Press)

(Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

Downtown Artesia will transform into a wonderland of holiday cheer Thursday evening as Artesia MainStreet and the Artesia Chamber of Commerce host the annual Light Up Artesia event.

Light Up Artesia offers a chance to keep a portion of the community’s Christmas shopping dollars local while also providing a fun, festival atmosphere to usher in the holidays.

The event will run from 5-9 p.m. in the downtown district, with merchants staying open late and offering a variety of deals and promotions to encourage residents to “Shop Artesia.”

At 5:30 p.m., the Parade of Lights will make its way down Main Street from Bulldog Bowl east to Roselawn Avenue. Businesses and individuals will provide a glittering display of lighted floats and vehicles, all serving as an escort for the Man of the Hour, Santa Claus.

After greeting parade-goers, Santa will set up shop at the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center to hear wish lists from and take photos with his smallest fans.

“We have it on pretty good authority that Olaf from ‘Frozen’ may also be at the Ocotillo while the kids are waiting to see Santa,” said Vickie Grousnick, events and marketing coordinator with the Chamber of Commerce. “He may also have some friends with him.”

The Artesia Choir Boosters will be offering professional photos with Santa at a cost of $5, and photos will not be printed onsite but emailed to the recipient so that multiple copies can be printed. Parents may also take their own photos for free.

Up and down Main, sidewalk vendors will set up tables and booths to offer custom gift items as well as hot drinks, food, snacks and sweet treats. And for those doing their shopping with local merchants, Dec. 1 will serve as a “double-dipper” day for the chamber’s Shop Artesia promotion.

Through the promotion, Artesians turning in receipts collected from local businesses from Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 will receive one entry per every $50 spent into a drawing for thousands of dollars in Chamber Bucks. Receipts collected during Light Up Artesia will count twice.