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Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand for a previous edition of “Christmas at the Center,” and will be back this year to take pictures and talk with children and parents alike.

Christmas at the Center

The Christmas season is getting underway, and a good way to kick it off is with “Christmas at the Center,” a yearly event scheduled for the Harlan Center on Saturday.

According to Harlan Tourism Director Brandon Pennington, this is the fifth installment of the celebration.

“We initially started it because we had a lot of people who came to us and said they were commercial vendors and sold commercial items and couldn’t sell them at the Festival of the Mountain Masters,” Pennington explained. “So, we wanted to give them a place — a venue — to sell their products. So we started to think about what we could do to put it together.”

What they come up with was “Christmas at the Center.”

“We combined it with pictures of Santa, getting vendors in who may sell handcrafted or commercially made items, and we just continued to add to it every year,” Pennington said.

The event has continued to grow each year.

Santa will be available for pictures from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“The vendors we have right now include crafts, coal-crafted items, candy, horseshoe art, jams and jellies, locally made soap, locally printed t-shirts, woodwork, candles, unique make-up, knitted crafts, Christmas ornaments, wreaths, paintings, quilts and more,” Pennington said.

The event will also feature free face painting for children and refreshments.

“We’ll be offering hot chocolate and apple cider to all attendees for free throughout the day, and then we’ll also offer that at the Christmas parade,” Pennington said.

Pennington pointed out the hours for Christmas at the Center are set up to coincide with the Harlan Christmas Parade.

“The hours for the event are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Pennington said. “We moved the time this year because we wanted to accommodate the Christmas parade.”

The event will also feature local talent, including the Rosspoint Elementary Pee Wee Dancers and music from musicians including Sharon Stewart.

“Christmas at the Center” is free of charge and open to the public.

“We get so excited about this event because it’s a tradition for us,” Pennington said. “We want it to continue to be something people will come out to and enjoy. Everyone come on out and enjoy yourselves. It’s going to be a ton of fun!”