NOTO kicks off ‘Celebrations of Winter’ for holiday season

NOTO kicked off a six-week celebration of the holiday season on Saturday.
Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - “This evening is our final part of our ‘Celebration of Lights’,” said Thomas Underwood, executive director of NOTO’s Arts & Entertainment District. “All the streets are lit up, we have our holiday decorations up. The stores are all lit up, and we’re gonna do the final piece of this by lighting our Christmas tree.”

NOTO kicked off a six-week celebration of the holiday season on Saturday.

“We’ve had free horse-drawn wagon rides. We had the holiday markets at the NOTO Arts Center. A lot of the shops down here have specials and things that they were doing. This is kind of our kickoff to the holiday season, our ‘Celebrations of Winter’,” Underwood said.

After the holiday market, people made their way over to Redbud Park for the lighting of the Celebration Tree.

“The Christmas tree is relatively young and it was just planted two years ago. It’s still growing, it needs a lot of love. It’s kind of like NOTO, we’re still growing. But in the years to come, it’s going to be the place for tree lighting here,” explained Underwood.

Among the spectators was a special guest visiting Topeka all the way from the North Pole.

“This is Santa Claus wishing everybody in Topeka and the surrounding area a merry, merry Christmas this year. Everybody I hope you get everything you want.”

Kids said they enjoyed being around such a festive environment.

“My favorite part about today was meeting Santa Claus and riding the ride with the horses,” Lexi said.

“When everyone is in one space, whether it’s family or friends, it kind of forces you to remember and be thankful of and appreciate what you have and who you have,” said Bree.