SHAMOKIN - The holiday season kicks into high gear at 1 p.m. Saturday for the sixth annual Downtown Christmas event along Independence Street.

The event, presented by the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities, will bring together a number of holiday traditions, including the arrival of Santa Claus.

The highlight of the event is the Santa parade, which kicks off at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Towers and travels north on Market Street, onto Independence Street then disbands at the post office. Santa, Mrs. Claus and their two elves will then come to the second floor of the Fun Shop building to meet all the children.

Openings are still available to be part of the parade; contact Jeanne Shaffer at 570-850-9121 or at jeannes@ptd.net if interested.

The Shamokin Rotary Club will provide the sleigh for Santa to arrive and will have pictures available with "the jolly old elf" for a $3 suggested donation for those that can give. Visits will last until 4 p.m. and are sponsored by Mountain View: A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

The Rotary sleigh and Santa will make various appearances from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10 to 14 and Dec. 17 to 21. The News-Item will publish the schedule in a future article.

Added to the event this year will be a special showing of the movie "The Polar Express" at 7 p.m. at the Arts Center auditorium, Arch and Eighthstreets. Youngsters are encouraged to come in the pajamas with their teddy bears.

The movie is sponsored by the Shamokin Area Educational Association. Tickets are free and can be picked up from 12 to 4 p.m. in the Fun Shop building. The doors will open at 6 p.m.; tickets are required and will be punched upon entering the auditorium.

When attendees leave the movie, Santa Claus will present them a bell with a red ribbon attached, courtesy of Lourdes Regional School.

Preparations for the event begin Tuesday when TLC Tree Farm, of Hegins, will deliver 15 trees to the second floor of the Fun Shop building where a number of local business and community groups will decorate them.

Sponsors of this year's trees include the Shamokin Area Education Association, the Fun Shop, Salem United Church of Christ, Joshua Bressi Photography, The News-Item, Family Home Medical, two trees from Northwestern Academy, VNA Health System, VNA Caring Center, First United Methodist Church, AREA Services, Mountain View: A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and M&T Bank.

One tree is still available for decoration and anyone interested in doing so can contact Shaffer.

During Saturday's event, the public will be able to cast their vote for the tree they like best at cost of 25 cents a vote. Ballots can be picked up inside the upstairs doors of the Fun Shop. There will be cash prizes awarded to the first and second place winners and all proceeds from the voting will benefit the Kallaway Center for the Arts and its children's programs.

Outside, a variety of attractions will be held, including horse-drawn white pumpkin carriage rides from 2 to 5 p.m. Rides, sponsored in part by Aqua Pennsylvania, are $5 each and tickets can be purchased inside the upstairs of the Fun Shop.

Roaming the streets will be the Kopitsky family singing Christmas carols in Victorian costumes from 2 to 4 p.m.

Tammy Tweed and Jenna Wasakoski will host the Tussy Mussy Flower Cart, compliments of Beverly's Flower Shop. The ladies will offer bouquets of holiday delight that can be purchased and given as a special gesture to any loved one. The cart will be located somewhere at the corner of 8th and Independence Street. Joining them will be various outside vendors selling their wares.

Items available for purchase include: Ginny Albert, handmade Christmas ornaments, jewelry and scarves; Shamokin High School Class of 2016, basket raffle; VNA Health Care, snacks and food; Rescue Fire Company, kettle bean soup; Joseph Zanella, fresh popped kettle corn and apple cider; Amber Amato, food truck with haluskie and pierogies; another Shamokin class, baked goods, hot dogs and hot chocolate, and Curt Martin, barbecue and drinks.

Inside the Fun Shop building, include Mary Heffner, autographing copies of her book "My Heart Can't Tell You No;" Lori Laniewski and Ted Yost, educational CD, "Spiders. Bats and Wolves, Oh My;" Amanda Stank, tutus, hair accessories, jewelry and novelties; Shelby Foulds, Paparazzi jewelry; Cyndee White, German paper stars, crocheted infinity scarves, cat toys and earrings; Leslie Lenig, country primitive crafts, framed prints and arrangements; Kathy Masser , traveling tacos, wedding soup, bottled water, soda and Relay for Life items; Lisa Wengrenovich, Scentsy wickes and candles; Virginia Munson and Lisa Zalar, chicken pot pie, pierogies, haluskie, rice pudding, stuffed cabbage soup and candy; Linda Zalar, homemade cookies, baked goods and fudge; Brandon Zalar, hand drawn caricatures, and NCCAH table, Victoria Theatre caps, F&S Beer shirts, Shamokin pictures and festival booklets.

The main fundraiser for a Downtown Christmas will be the selling of fresh waxed dipped Christmas wreaths with assorted greens. Available inside the Fun Shop building, the $20 cost includes a red, burgundy, gold or silver bow. Grave stands are also available for purchase.

Everyone is invited to come downtown Saturday and celebrate this new holiday tradition.