KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Downtown Kalamazoo has a festive slate of free events scheduled this holiday season.
It features Santa’s Workshop, Small Business Saturday(s), a window decorating contest and more, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership announced Monday.
Families can visit with Santa during the annual Bronson Park Tree Lighting scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 26.
Live music, crafts, hot chocolate and other holiday fun will also be available.
Bring your furry friend – and camera – to Gazelle Sports for a holiday photo with Santa Claus before the Bronson Park Tree Lighting from 3-4:30 p.m.
Pet food donations will be collected during the event to donate to local pet shelters.
Special appearances by costumed characters – including Olaf, Elsa, Paw Patrol and Princess Sophia – will happen from 3-5 p.m. on Nov. 26 and 12-2 p.m. on Nov. 27 on the Kalamazoo Mall.
Santa’s Workshop opens Nov. 27, featuring visits with Black Santa every Thursday and Sunday afternoon. It’ll be on the first floor of the Radisson Plaza Hotel in the Blush Salon Beauty Lounge space.
Every child who visits will receive a Santa letter-writing kit to take home, which includes all items needed to send a letter to Santa, a holiday craft and wrapped goodies. Santa mailboxes will be placed throughout downtown Kalamazoo for families to send their letters.
Santa will see visitors Thursdays and Fridays from 4-8 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12-4 p.m.
Returning this year is the Winter Window Decorating Contest, a friendly competition between downtown businesses to see who has the merriest display.
To help visitors get around downtown, the Holly Jolly Trolley will run Thursdays through Sundays from Nov. 26 through Dec. 29 and on Dec. 31 for New Year’s Eve.
With nine stops throughout downtown, the route includes stops at City Hall, along the Kalamazoo Mall, Portage Street and Michigan Avenue.
The trolley will run Thursdays and Fridays from 5-9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 12-4 p.m. All trolley rides are free.
Parking in the Epic Parking ramp will be free on Thursdays in December. There will also be free 90-minute on-street parking throughout downtown and free parking all day on Sundays.
Small Business Saturday will be every Saturday in December this year in downtown Kalamazoo, along with the nationwide event on Nov. 27.
Many local businesses will host in-store promotions and specials.