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Christmas at the Center takes place this Saturday

Christmas at the Center will take place for the eighth consecutive year this Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m. with vendors and crafters stationed throughout the Harlan Center. Children will also have a special photo opportunity with the holly jolly man himself from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It is going to be a day full of Christmas magic in downtown Harlan,” said Brandon Pennington, executive director of Harlan Tourism. “Currently, we have around 40 vendors set up here, selling anything from homemade crafts to commercially-made items.”

He added items such as quilts, jewelry, purses, clothes and “a little bit of everything” will be available for purchase.

“If you want to get a unique gift for someone, this will be the place to find it this weekend,” he said.

Pennington said workers from Taco Holler, O-Taste-and-See and Hog Heaven will also be set up in the parking lot to sell their food.

“The Rosspoint Little Dancers will be performing at 1 p.m.,” he said. “We’re really excited to have them. I think they’ve been a part of the festival the last three or four years, so it’s exciting to have them come and perform.”

Pennington said pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus will take place in the upper gallery room in the Harlan Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For families with special needs who may have children who struggle with crowds, there will be a special Sensitive Santa event on Dec. 16 at the Harlan Public Library. This event is by appointment only, with no long lines or crowds and allows 15 minutes for the child to meet and warm up to Santa.

If you would like to make an appointment for your child to meet Sensitive Santa, call the library at 606-573-5220.

Once Christmas at the Center ends, the 2019 Harlan Christmas Parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. with over 70 participants, which Pennington said is more than previous years when there has usually been around 40.

“This year’s theme is ‘What Christmas Means to Me’ and we have over 72 spots taken for this Christmas parade, which is huge,” he said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Christmas parade with this many vehicles with floats in Harlan County.

“We’re kind of astounded with the response we’ve received this year for the Christmas parade, so it’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”

Pennington and the rest of the Harlan Center crew invite everyone to come be a part of the Christmas cheer this Saturday.

For more information on Christmas at the Center or the Harlan Christmas Parade, call the Harlan Center at 606-573-4495.