It's that time of year when cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies are airing 24/7. I'm a self-proclaimed Hallmark Christmas movie junkie...and I know I'm not the only one! 

My favorite ones are those set in idyllic small towns with over-the-top Christmas decor and festivities. There’s just something about small towns that go all out for the holidays. Watching friends, neighbors and visitors alike gather to spread holiday cheer amidst a festively decorated backdrop gives me all the Christmas feels.

If you have fantasized about stepping into one of those Hallmark Christmas movies, look no further than Danville, Indiana! You will find all the magic of a small-town Christmas at the 17th annual Christmas on the Square on Nov. 24!

Folks of all ages gather each year the day after Thanksgiving when the historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square transforms into a bustling Christmas wonderland. Bring your family and friends to see the town turn on the canopy of lights that stream down from every side of the square, officially kicking off the Christmas season.

You will want to make Danville's Christmas on the Square an annual tradition for your family as it is the perfect way to jump-start the holiday season. Here is what you can expect at this year's festive celebration. 

Danville, Indiana Danville Christmas on the Square

Danville serves as the county seat for Hendricks County and boasts a plethora of events and activities all year long. But the community really comes together for the holidays!

This year's Christmas on the Square is being put on by the Downtown Danville Partnership, the Town of Danville and Hawkeye Storage as well as a number of other community partners and sponsors. 

With a bit of Christmas-inspired team spirit, they all work together with the goal of bringing people to Danville’s beautiful downtown and supporting the town’s amazing small businesses.

Danville's historic courthouse is the perfect venue for this event and a natural gathering place to generate plenty of holiday cheer.

Danville’s Christmas on the Square feels like one of my beloved Hallmark Christmas movies coming to life! And I love that this event has become a treasured annual tradition for so many families, both near and far. 

For the Kids Train rides at Danville's Christmas on the Square

Christmas on the Square is a free, family-friendly event for all ages, running from 4-7 p.m.. So you will want to bring your whole clan. But there are some special activities that the young’uns in your crew will be especially excited about.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be near the East alley at the start of the event, so be sure to pay them a visit and share your Christmas wishes.

Bring your kids and your camera to snap cherished photos while you visit the jolly couple. No professional photographer will be present, but families are welcome to take their own pictures.

Then, wander over to the Historical Museum to check out Santa's workshop.

You will also want to visit the festively decorated selfie station to snap even more pictures that will be treasured keepsakes for years to come.

The kiddos will have an opportunity to write down their Christmas wishes and mail them to Santa at The Author's Patch. They will be thrilled when The Big Guy mails a personalized letter back to each child!

Face painters and balloon twisters will be on hand to add some extra Christmas magic. And back by popular demand this year is the Dorsey Plumbing train rides.

Did I mention that all of these activities are free? It doesn't get more festive and family-friendly than that!

Lighting the Tree Lighting of the Tree at Danville's Christmas on the Square, photo courtesy of Downtown Danville Indiana's Facebook Page

Creating cherished holiday memories is at the core of Danville's Christmas on the Square, with none more anticipated than the lighting of the tree.

A new tree was planted a few years ago on the Southeast corner of the square, across from Danville Dips. This gorgeous spruce is the centerpiece of Christmas on the Square and families get to watch it grow from year to year as they return for the annual festivities.

The Christmas season officially kicks off at 6:30 p.m. when Santa flips the giant switch to illuminate the tree and the glittering canopy of lights. You don't want to miss it!

After lighting up the historic town square, Santa will then head down to open up Winterland at Ellis Park.

Splash Island Family Waterpark tube slide

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Festivities Galore & Holiday Decor Living Nativity at Danville's Christmas on the Square

In addition to Mr. and Mrs. Claus, other beloved holiday characters will also be on hand to spread Christmas cheer. And the Treblemakers will roam the square singing all your favorite Christmas carols.

Enjoy a carriage ride, courtesy of Abstract & Title, as you snuggle up with your sweetie or your entire brood. You can even snag an autograph from one of the Indiana Lyons, Danville's professional basketball team.

Bundle up your loved ones and plan to wander the square as you take in the beautiful holiday-themed window displays created by local businesses. Winners of the decorating contest will be announced at 5 p.m., and these festive window displays are sure to inspire your own decorating plans.

Always a popular attraction, don't miss the live nativity scene put on by Danville United Methodist Church as you take a moment to ponder the very first Christmas.

Shopping, Dining & MoreMake sure to start your holiday shopping and enjoy a bite to eat.

As you enjoy all the outdoor festivities, be sure to pop in the array of shops lining the square as well. Shop owners will stay open late to showcase their unique treasures and help you find just the right gifts on your holiday shopping list.

Find that one-of-a-kind creation at Forget-Me-Knots or a piece of handmade art by a local artist at Gallery on the Square. Wander into Seize the Night Designs to select a piece of handmade jewelry for that special someone.

Work your way around the entire square and side streets, and you will have your entire holiday shopping list checked off in no time. 

After the lights are aglow and you are ready to sit a spell, dig into some down-home food at Mayberry Cafe or head over to Frank’s Place for an Italian feast. Don’t forget to pop into Court House Grounds for some of Grandma Pete’s famous fruitcake!

There will also be several food trucks at the event, so come hungry!

No need to rush home when Christmas on the Square ends at 7 p.m. Instead, linger in Danville a while longer and head over to Ellis Park for the Winterland drive-through light show. Or stay on the square and grab a seat inside the Royal Theater for the 7 p.m. showing of Trolls Band Together.

Make plans now to gather your loved ones and usher in the holiday season together at Danville's Christmas on the Square!

What You Need To Know Danville's Christmas on the Square, photo courtesy of Downtown Danville Indiana's Facebook page

Christmas on the Square
Friday, Nov. 24, 2023
4-7 p.m.
Historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square in Danville, Indiana
Website

The event is free to attend and there is no cost for the various activities, but attendees will want to have money for shopping and dining. The square will be closed to traffic, but there is free public parking all around on side streets. Dress for the weather as the event will be held rain or shine (or snow!)