News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 8, 2012

Fourth annual event on 7th gets boost from Mother Nature

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Music carried Friday’s rain away, long enough for Christmas celebrations to be merry.

The fourth annual Miracle on 7th Street turned a dreary evening bright, as lights of every holiday color twinkled about the downtown blocks. Dozens of events between Walnut Street and Wabash Avenue kept sidewalks full between Fourth and Ninth streets Friday evening, and music played well into the night.

The Crossroads Café at the corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue was packed with tables open only for reserved parties, and passerby moved into The Corner Grind next door. Indiana State University choir students popped in about 7 p.m. for a session of caroling, as diners set down their forks to listen.

Scott Buchanan, director of the university’s choral program, said restaurant owner Boo Lloyd caters their dinners, and the group returned the favor with songs before moving on to other locations.

“They’re giving their time to share the Christmas spirit with the community,” he said of the students. “This is a great event. I hope it continues.”

The Terre Haute Children’s Choir performed inside the Indiana Theatre, as a foyer full of people listened from behind tables full of gingerbread houses.

The annual decorating contest was won this year by Morgan Stanley. The children’s renditions of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Silent Night” could be heard yet outside, but not much further north than Halcyon Contemporary Art Gallery, as a trumpet player sounded out Yuletide melodies near The Swope.

Inside a tent full of crafters and artists on South Seventh Street, gifts from jewelry to baked goods were for sale. Beverly Riley, proprietor of “Life of Riley Honey Farm,” sweetened the season with jars full of product from her 50 honeybee hives.

“And growing. Always growing,” she said of her family’s bee business. In addition to honey, her stand also sold lotions, soaps and honey sticks.

In middle of the intersection of Wabash Avenue and Seventh Street, the festival’s annual Christmas tree decorating contest was being judged, as participating trees set one next to the other, decorated by themes. Later that evening, it was announced that Downtown Terre Haute Inc. won the contest with their snowman concept. Ariane Marie King, operations director for Downtown Terre Haute Inc., said her board members came up with the idea.

“We had an amazing concept that no one else had thought of before,” she said, adding she was confident early in the evening as numerous people chose their tree as the backdrop for family pictures.

The Swope’s tree came in second place and Bridges of Indiana placed third.

Martha Crossen, owner of River Wools, said the annual window decorating contest was won this year by Heinl’s Flower Shop, with Lynn’s Boutique and her own shop coming in second and third respectively. Local artists sold their wares inside her store as she offered tours and demonstrations to shoppers, some of whom come from as far as St. Louis for the festivities.

“I think people are doing more of an accessory kind of thing right now this year, rather than sweaters,” she said of winter knitting projects.

Down the block at Images Photography, LaRysa Orman photographed children on the lap of Santa Claus as Mrs. Claus stood by his side.

“It’s going pretty good,” she said of the fourth annual event. People coming into the store seemed happy, and asking Santa for toys is always popular, she said. “Transformers, I’ve heard that a time or two.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or