All he wants for Christmas is ...

Andrew Alexander, 5, of Geneva, sits on Santa’s lap inside City Hall during Geneva’s annual tree-lighting celebration Friday night.

GENEVA — Hundreds of people come downtown in early December each year to ring in the holiday season, with the arrival of Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, caroling, and the mayor’s tree-lighting ceremony among the highlights.

The event returns Friday, but with new offerings and a new name: Jingle In Geneva, formerly Geneva Night Out Holiday Edition. The goal is to get more merchant involvement in the annual event, said Mark Palmieri, director of the Geneva Business Improvement District.

Palmieri noted that with Geneva Night Out no longer active, the Business Improvement District and its revived Merchant Association have spent time reaching out to urge more businesses to become involved in the holiday celebration, which runs from 4:30 to 9 p.m.

“We’ve kind of rekindled that group again,” said Palmieri, pointing to the work of members Terri Sindt, Patti Ely, Beth Haswell, Wes Greco, Kristen Wheeler, Yvette Ortiz, Katie Labbe and Lynn Anania.

The effort to promote downtown businesses as part of the holiday event, “is an outgrowth of the shop small, shop local” idea, said Palmieri.

“(Jingle in Geneva) is just a way to promote businesses, along with the event,” he said. “Let’s promote our businesses as well as celebrating the holidays.”

Palmieri noted that merchants group member Haswell, co-owner of Stomping Grounds has reached out to downtown merchants, asking them to consider extending their Friday night hours to 8:30 p.m. to offer “whatever sales, giveaways, or other promotions make sense for their individual shops or restaurants.”

BID also is coordinating the horse-and-carriage rides in partnership with C.S. Burrall & Son Insurance, Lyons National Bank, and Savings Bank of the Finger Lakes. Last year 700 took the rides, Palmieri said.

City Manager Sage Gerling said she’s pleased to see such a cooperative effort between the city, BID and downtown merchants.

“Friday night’s downtown celebration is a wonderful example of so many organizations and businesses coming together to enliven the magic of the holidays — from old-time fun of horse-drawn carriages, warm, glowing storefronts, welcoming merchants, toys being donated for our youth, Santa arriving in style and much more,” she wrote in an email. “We are grateful to be participating in the evening.”

Palmieri invited the public to come down and celebrate the season.

“We’ve got our downtown decorated beautifully,” he said.

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