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Light Up Mars set Saturday

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to residents in front of the holiday tree before festivities at the Mars Borough Light Up Night festivities in 2021. Butler Eagle File Photo

Visitors to Mars’ historic downtown district have a chili night ahead of them Saturday, Nov. 26.

The borough will kick off its first chili cookoff from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. along with a blizzard of holiday favorites. These will include a tree lighting at 5:30 p.m., a parade at 7:30 p.m. and a holiday market.

“We have never really done a holiday market with craft vendors in the past, so we tried to bring some new vendors in for this year,” she said.

Visitors can find cakes, popcorn, pierogies and other goodies for sale at the market, according to the borough website.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, of course, will make an appearance, too. Families and children can get photos with them or board the free carriages offering rides.

Santa, who will arrive at 4 p.m., will serve as honorary tree lighter at 5:30 p.m. as well.

“I think people are excited about the chili cookoff,” said Amy Brown, who works as assistant secretary and treasurer for Mars. “It’s something new that we haven’t done before. And it’s a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, so we’ve gotten some questions about that.”

This is the fifth Mars Light Up Night event run directly by the borough, and it will coincide with other business celebrations such as Small Business Saturday in Zelienople.

Mars police will also collect toys at Mars Light Up Night for its annual Toys for Tots drive, for which officers will connect toys with children in need. The department will host its main Toys for Tot event drive on Dec. 3, according to Brown.

Brown said Mars Light Up Night saw good turnout last year, although she anticipates better turnout this year.

“It looks like the weather’s going to be nice,” she said. “We’re hoping to get at least a couple hundred people down here.”

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