WATERVLIET — It’s not Christmastime in Watervliet until the Hometown Christmas celebration next weekend.
The Saturday and Sunday event will feature a parade, a cookie decorating contest, a chili cookoff, live music, an ugly sweater contest and more. It will mostly be held at Arclight Brewing Co., 544 N. Main St.
The lighted parade is set for Sunday at 5:30 p.m. There is a $100 prize for best entry. It will start at City Hall and end at Arclight Brewing Co.
Elementary school choir teacher Brandon Mattson will lead the parade with his choir students.
There will be a costume contest for dogs dressed as reindeer. A prize for most creative will be awarded at Arclight after the parade on Sunday.
Families can get their pictures taken with Santa from 6-8 p.m. Sunday. It’s $7 for a 5-by-7, $10 for two 4-by-6 and $9 for an emailed digital copy.
There will be free hot cocoa and cookies for every child from 6-8 p.m. Sunday and an ugly sweater contest for teens and adults at 7:30 p.m.
Depending on the weather, a snowman building contest will happen from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the former paper mill site and prizes will be awarded to the best cookies decorated between 3-5 p.m. Saturday at Arclight.
Another event set for the weekend celebration is the fourth annual Chili Cookoff at Arclight Brewing Co.
Contestants must be 21 years and older and make a slow cooker full of chili. Registrations must be received by Nov. 30. The form is available at www.watervliet.org.
The tasting is open to the public at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and the public will judge the dishes. The top three winners will get Arclight Brewing gift cards.
There will be food available through the whole weekend thanks to Panthers Grill, and there will be live music at 8 p.m. Saturday thanks to Big Ben & The Burly Guys.
In coordination with the celebration, the city is sponsoring a lighted house contest for residents in the city and Watervliet Township.
Entries can be made via a Facebook event page “Watervliet’s Best Lighted House Contest 2018” between Sunday and Dec. 15.
Once entered, posts can be shared to get likes and shares. The three houses with the most will get prizes. Organizers will count the likes and shares at midnight on Dec. 15.
First prize will get $100 cash, second will get a $50 gift card to B&B Discount Grocery and third will get a $20 gift card to Mill Creek Charlie’s.
For more information about Watervliet’s Hometown Christmas events, visit www.watervliet.org.
Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman