Here is a look ahead to events and activities planned in the Lake Geneva region this holiday season:
The festivities already have started with the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District’s annual holiday window display competition.
About 30 downtown businesses have decorated storefront windows to participate in the competition. The theme for this year’s competition is “Frosty’s Magical Christmas,” to coincide with theme for the Electric Christmas Parade, which is set for Dec. 7.
Bridget Leech, executive director for the Business Improvement District, said the purpose of the competition is to help downtown merchants make their businesses look inviting during the holiday season.
“The point is to help people get in the stores,” Leech said. “It allows the store owner or manager to talk about the window display competition and give them a little map of the other participating stores.”
The competition will include four categories: community choice, social media choice, best use of merchandise and best use of theme. The community choice and social media choice will be done by store customers, and best use of merchandise and best use of theme will be selected by a panel of judges.
Voting will be held through Dec. 15, and the winners will be announced during the week of Dec. 16. Leech said no prizes will be awarded for this year’s competition.
“That’s on purpose,” she said. “It’s so the stores are having fun with each other. We don’t need to take it too seriously.”
The window displays will be up throughout the holiday season. Leech said the number of businesses that have participated has increased during the past few years.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger,” Leech said. “It’s super exciting.”
The Business Improvement District will host its annual tree lighting ceremony 5 p.m., Dec. 6 at Flat Iron Park, 201 Wrigley Drive. The event will include the lighting of the city’s tree, live entertainment, a reading of “Frosty the Snowman” and a visit from Santa Claus.
The Geneva Lake Museum, 255 Mill St. in Lake Geneva, will conduct “A Victorian Christmas“ from noon to 3 p.m., Dec. 7, which will include live entertainment, games, children’s craft project, refreshments and a visit from Victorian Santa.
“It will be a flurry of activity,” museum director Janet Ewing said.
There is no cost to attend, but donations for the Walworth County Food Pantry and Lakeland Animal Shelter will be accepted.
Ewing said the Victorian Christmas event is well attended each year.
“It’s a fun event,” she said. “Plus, it’s indoors, so people don’t have to freeze to enjoy it.”
The holiday festivities will continue 5 p.m., Dec. 7 with the 44th annual Electric Christmas Parade in downtown Lake Geneva, hosted by VISIT Lake Geneva. The parade will feature lighted floats decorated by area businesses and organizations.
The deadline to register a float is Nov. 29. Rules and applications are available by visiting www.visitlakegeneva.com. For more information, call 262-812-0023.
Santa Claus will be making several appearances in downtown Lake Geneva throughout the holiday season. Santa and live reindeer will be outside of the Thrift-Inn, 252 Center St., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 7, and in front of the Beef Jerky Outlet and Frank’s Original Hot Dogs, 270 Broad St., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 14.
Leech said the Business Improvement District often has to schedule the live reindeer about a year in advance.
“They are in super high demand,” she said.
Santa also will be strolling downtown Dec. 8, Dec. 15 and Dec. 21, visiting several of the downtown businesses.
“He will be walking up and down the streets, talking with kids, taking pictures and handing out candy canes,” Leech said.
Planning for most of the holiday events begins in October. Leech said she enjoys planning for the holiday season.