HANCOCK - Santa Claus is up to his old tricks once again.
On Friday, the jolly old fellow will ditch his sleigh for a ride on a shiny, red fire engine during Hancock's annual Christmas Walk celebration.
Festivities will get underway at 6 p.m. Friday, outside the Scott Hotel building, where Santa will hop on the fire truck and head down Quincy Street. Revelers young and old are encouraged to walk behind Santa as he makes his way to city hall for the lighting of the city's Christmas tree.
"Come on out and sing some Christmas carols and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season," said Jenifer Murphy, president of the Hancock Business & Professionals Association. "It's a real family-friendly atmosphere."
The theme for this year's celebration is Christmas Carols in Hancock.
Free pictures with Santa will follow the lighting of the Christmas tree. Members of Keweenaw Krayons will be taking the pictures inside city hall, Murphy said.
"After they get their picture taken, each child will get a free stocking and the parents will get a Hancock business card," she said. "It's something new we're doing this year as one of our promotions to shop local."
Murphy said the kids can take their empty stockings to participating downtown businesses to be filled with small gifts. The Hancock business cards offer special discounts at participating businesses.
"It's just one way for them to find out what we're all about so they'll come back," she said. "You don't have to go to the big cities to shop. We have everything here locally that they have."
High school students participating in Model United Nations will be holding a bake sale inside city hall during the pictures with Santa.
Murphy said Model U.N. is a club where students research world issues and debate them as they try to come up with solutions, "just like the United Nations does."
"They're raising money to help pay for their competitions," she said.
Additional festivities include free horse-drawn wagon rides from 6 to 8 p.m. The rides begin at the Scott Hotel, head down Quincy Street and loop up behind Superior National Bank before returning to the Scott Hotel.
Downtown businesses will be serving up special holiday treats, Murphy added. "Whether it's hors d'oeuvres, cookies, hot apple cider, cocoa, candy ... they tend to put something out," she said.
Duane Aho, community bank president for Citizen's Bank of the Keweenaw said they will be having an open house at the end of the parade route.
"We'll be handing out gift bags for the kids and serving up hot apple cider. It's just a very festive atmosphere," he said. "It's one of those things that you can do without any cost."
Mary Sears, who owns With These Hands, said she will be putting out cookies, hot cider, coffee and other treats during the walk.
"Come on down and see us," she said. "There will be prizes for the kids. Santa Claus will be visiting the different businesses. It will be a great ending to your shopping day."
Businesses will also be featuring their decorative storefronts which will be judged Friday evening. There are three categories in which they'll be judged - best use of merchandise, best interpretation of the theme (Christmas Carols in Hancock) and most creative.
"This also marks the kickoff for the Hancock Bucks drawing," Murphy added. "Drawings are held every Friday at the 75 participating businesses."
Customers can register for Hancock Bucks through Dec. 19.
Murphy said this will be her fourth year managing The Kukkakauppa Flower Shop in downtown Hancock. To help her customers get in the Christmas spirit, she said she's going to play holiday music outside her shop.
"It brings back that old-fashioned, down home Christmas feeling," she said.
Celebrating her first Christmas as a downtown business owner is Kelly Barkell, of the Lone Wolf Hair Den. Barkell said she's excited for what's in store Friday evening.
"It will be fun to see the kids," she said. "I will be handing out candy and I will also have something where customers can sign up to win gift certificates."
Barkell will also have her Alaskan Malamute, Titan, in the shop for visitors to meet.
"The kids just love him," she said. "They love to come in and pet him."
On behalf of the HBPA, which is in charge of organizing the annual Christmas Walk, Murphy said they're looking forward to Friday's festivities.
"We really appreciate the people coming out because it makes us have a good feeling about the start of the season," she said. "It's like one big family reunion."
Additionally, the walk gives locals a chance to see what the downtown businesses have to offer.
"Why drive far away and spend the money on gas when you could help your neighbors?" she questioned. "There's just so many things that we have right here."
The Hancock Christmas Walk will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in downtown Hancock. For more information, call Jenifer Murphy at The Kukkakauppa Flower Shop at 482-2060.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by the Hancock Business & Professionals Association. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.