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Light Up Mars returns Saturday

The Mars UFO shines brightly during the light up night in Mars in 2019.

Light Up Mars will bring holiday cheer to downtown Mars Saturday with winter-themed events, a tree lighting and a parade.

The event runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Grand Avenue and Pittsburgh Street in the borough.

The tree lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m., and the parade will begin at 6 p.m. at Mars National Bank.

Last year's COVID-19-safe version of Light Up Mars was much smaller, Mayor Gregg Hartung said, but the festival is back in full swing this year.

“We did a downsized version, but didn't promote it a lot because we weren't sure about having too big of a crowd,” Hartung said. “We had a parade and Santa Claus, but it was sort of a limited edition of Light Up Mars.”

This year's Light Up Mars will be the third iteration to be run directly by the borough. Borough Council member Julie Schultheis said the addition of food trucks is a new feature.

The event coincides with Small Business Saturday, Schultheis said, and a number of Mars businesses have festive activities planned.

“I have a lot of local people and businesses that are going to be participating as well. They're all local,” she said. “Mars Borough will have a tent set up representing the borough, and we have Christmas-related giveaways for children.”

The Mars Borough Christmas Parade of Lights at 6 p.m. will feature four fire departments. Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company, Adams Area Fire District, Callery Volunteer Fire Company and Middlesex Township Volunteer Fire Department are all scheduled to participate.

“We will have a great presence there with all of our first responders, and Quality EMS as well as the police,” Schultheis said.

Families will have the chance to take free carriage rides as well as get photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus during the event.

Hartung plans to honor the Mars girls soccer team, which won its third consecutive PIAA Class 3A state championship, with a certificate. Members of the team will walk in the parade.

Local Girl Scout troops will perform festive songs during Light Up Mars to raise money through the Caroling for Mars service project, which purchases gifts for children of local families that need extra help around the holidays.

The troops will be present at the event from 6 to 8 p.m. and will pass out red and green glow sticks.

“It's really nice that we're able to (do it),” said troop leader Heather Ladesic. “It's a pretty nice event being able to stand out there, and people are able to see the girls from the community coming in. It's nice to get back together.”

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