Downtown Dexter will come alive with the spirit of Christmas this weekend during the fifth annual "Home for the Holidays" festival on Saturday.
The event is sponsored by the nonprofit group Think Dexter First, and includes a full day of activities for people of all ages, including breakfast with Santa, holiday craft bazaars, caroling and the annual The Holiday Hustle 5K fun run.
"This event draws a mass of people from around Southeast Michigan because of the pull we receive by incorporating the Holiday Hustle 5K," event co-organizer Mary Pierce said. "Last year we estimated 1,600 people from our community and surrounding areas came into the village and either participated with the Santa visits, shopped, dined, caroled or entered the Holiday Hustle."
Festivities kick off at 8:30 a.m. as children can enjoy breakfast with Santa at . Breakfast is open to everyone, with a specially priced children's $1.99 menu.
Children can have their pictures taken with Santa until 10:30 a.m., when Santa will move to the gazebo in from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For those looking to get a jump start on their Christmas shopping, three holiday craft bazaars will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Dexter Heritage Guild will showcase their crafts inside the , while the Dexter Girl Scouts will be stationed at . A sale will also take place at the as well.
"The craft shows are a lot of fun and draw people from all over the area," Pierce said. "It adds another dimension to the festival."
Gordon Hall will help visitors at their "Christmas at the Mansion" event Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. featuring hot cider and cookies, tours of the museum, music and carolers. Children can even visit with Santa for a suggested donation of $5.
Anyone with a sweet tooth can head over to for their seventh annual from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Families can browse more than 100 types of holiday cookies and enter in a drawing to win a festive gingerbread house. Individually packaged, specially decorated cookies and gift selections of boxed cookies will be available for purchase also.
Pierce said each year "Home for the Holidays" grows, with more local businesses and organizations adding activities to the schedule.
"If anyone is doing anything special on Dec. 3, we want to know about it," she said. "'Home for the Holidays' is quite unique to Dexter. It offers something for everyone — young and old alike and it doesn't tie up the entire month of December."
The holiday fun continues with the fourth annual Holiday Hustle 5K charity run, sponsored by Running Fit. Participants can register for the run online. The fee for the run is $24 for individuals under 18 if paid before noon on Dec. 1. The fee after Dec. 1 is $30. For participants ages 18 and up, the fee is $29 before Dec. 1 and $35 after Dec. 1. A $5 donation from each participant's entry fee will be donated to various Dexter charities including , the Athletic Booster Club of Dexter and the . The Holiday Hustle begins on Central Street near Monument Park at 4:15 p.m.
The holiday season festival would not be complete without the joyful sound of Christmas carolers and festive music. Attendees will gather at Monument Park at 6 p.m. for community caroling to close out the event.
"We're looking forward to another fantastic year," Pierce said. "The businesses are excited because they know it brings people to town who are spending money in our community."