Edison Neighborhood gets in holiday spirit with Holidays in the Square

Holiday shopping, festive music and food, and a chance to influence the future of the Edison Neighborhood -- that's what you can expect at Holidays in the Square.

Local artists, musicians, artisan retailers, bakers, food vendors and a visit from Santa himself will come together at Washington Square in the Edison Neighborhood, 1311 and 1350 Portage Street.

The event begins during Art Hop from 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6. It continues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Dec. 7. Santa is expected from noon to 2 p.m.

Holidays in the Square is a collaboration between the Edison Neighborhood, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Kalamazoo County Land Bank designed to explore the possibilities of the vacant spaces on Portage Street.

Attempts to bring back the area have been ongoing for many years, with many organizations such as Downtown Tomorrow Inc., the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the City of Kalamazoo working together to restore the commercial corridor along Portage Street. In the past 18 months LISC has worked with those in the surrounding area as part of its sustainable neighborhoods initiative to learn what residents hope for.

Neighbors are invited to Holidays in the Square not only come to enjoy the activities taking place but to put their creative juices to work in envisioning what could be in the currently vacant spaces now that residential housing nearby has been upgraded with the completion and sale of all the homes in the Marketplace development and there is the promise of the positive results of the nearby Healthy Living Corridor.

Throughout the event visitors will be invited to record their ideas for the best possibilities for the area.  The area was once home to a pharmacy, an ice cream parlor and more.

In keeping with the festive nature of the event food vendors will participate. They include Andrew Pineda, the Tamale Guy, The Organic Gypsy, Winks BBQ, Juicy Leaf and the Brazilian Oven, among others.

Local artists featured at this event include Taxidermy Robots by Chris Broadbent and jeweler and digital artist Kristie Tellier.

Rock Blues band Elephant Rescue, acoustic folk artists Chuck and Kathy, and a performance by BenJammin on Saturday with his kid-friendly educational music will keep things lively.

"The idea is the bring back the vibrancy and activity of Washington Square," says Kelly Clark of the Kalamazoo County Land Bank.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Kelly Clark, Kalamazoo County Land Bank

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