Downtown to kick off its holiday activities

Published 11:14 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Downtown Albert Lea will officially kick off the holiday season Friday with the third annual Heart of the City Holiday Stroll, featuring shopping, Santa Claus, singing, art and the lighting of Albert Lea’s Christmas tree.

Events start at 9 a.m. when the downtown retailers will open their doors to shoppers. Many of the shops have something special planned for their customers.

At 10 a.m. people can start voting for their favorite holiday window decorations downtown. Ballots will be available at participating shops or online at

Email newsletter signup

Tami Staker, president of Destination Albert Lea, said there are more shops participating in the contest this year than last year. People can vote through Dec. 6, and the winner will be announced in the Dec. 14 edition of the Tribune.

First place will receive $100, second place $75 and third place $50, Staker said.

Also at 10 a.m. and going until 7 p.m. holiday music will be playing in the downtown for shoppers. The music will be played throughout the season until Jan. 1.

Starting at 10 a.m., people can go view the Festival of Trees in the Albert Lea Art Center, and wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served from 4 to 7:30 p.m.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Santa will be strolling along in the downtown shops, and then from 2 to 4 p.m. the Albert Lea High School Caroliers will carol in the downtown, both inside and outside of shops.

People can also enjoy the talent of local artist Rick Mammel in his original artworks show at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center during various hours. His exhibit will be up through Dec. 21. For more information contact Mammel at 377-5046.

From 5 to 7:30 p.m. there will be a chili supper at the American Legion, consisting of a warm bowl of chili, bread, beverage and homemade treats for $5.50.

Then at 6 p.m., Albert Lea Mayor Randy Erdman will light Albert Lea’s official Christmas tree, and singer Todd Utpadel will perform.