Christmastime in the city: 29th annual Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend begins

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MANISTEE — “It’s the most wonderful time of the year …”

The Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend is one of the most highly anticipated events of the holiday season in Manistee County, and the 29th annual event kicked off on Thursday.

The Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce held a preview of the Festival of Trees with its Business After Hours event at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, which also featured hors d’oeuvres and music. The Festival of Trees continues throughout the weekend.

Donning Victorian dress and presenting music varying from 15th century carols to Broadway musical pieces, the Manistee Choral Society held its annual Victorian Dessert Concert at First Congregational Church in front of a sold out audience.

Other events on Thursday included the opening of the Manistee County Historical Museum’s exhibit, Christmas at the Lyman Building, Christmas Cookie & Wine Pairing, tours of the Dempsey Mansion and “A Tuneful Christmas Carol,” of which run throughout the weekend.

Today’s highlights include the annual Downtown Soup Cook-off at 16 locations downtown and new event Kids & Kupcakes, which allows children to decorate cupcakes with culinary artist Connie Watson at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. Tours of the Ramsdell Theatre also will be given from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For a full schedule of the weekend’s events, visit manisteesleighbellparade.com.

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