Downtown merchants are getting a chance to put their heads together and get some holiday ideas.
"It's what we're going to call our official beginning of the holiday," Marcia McFarlane, with Downtown Lawrence Inc., said.
"A Festive Beginning" is planned to kick off the holiday season for downtown Lawrence with drinks, hors d'eouvres and a jazz band from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday in the Crystal Ballroom at the Eldridge Hotel.
Downtown Lawrence Inc., the event organizer, will announce plans for Santa's arrival in downtown, downtown holiday decorations and the lighting ceremony. The Eldridge Hotel is co-hosting the event. Hotel Manager Rob Phillips also will announce plans for the sixth annual Eldridge Hotel Old Fashioned Christmas Parade.
Toys For Tots, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, the Seem-To-Be-Players, The Shelter and other non-profit organizations also will be on hand to promote their downtown holiday activities.