It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in El Dorado as the city prepares for its annual yuletide celebration, which kicks off this month.
Several groups are planning holiday activities and inviting the community to "revel in the magic of Christmas" with a citywide theme of "Oh, What Fun it is to ..."
Local residents are left to fill in the blank with their favorite holiday memories and experiences.
For Main Street El Dorado and its mission of drawing visitors downtown and promoting economic vitality, the meaning of the holiday theme rounds out to "Oh What Fun it is to Shop, Dine, Stay and Play in Downtown!"
The city's downtown square embodies the spirit of the season and the vibrancy of the local community and has long been revered as the go-to place for enchanting Christmas experiences, according to a press release issued by MSE.
With those sentiments in mind, MSE is partnering with Roseburg El Dorado MDF to invite visitors downtown to take in the sights and sounds of the holiday season with Christmas lights and other decorations.
MSE and other groups, including the Downtown Business Assocation, are coordinating a lineup of holiday events that will feature shopping extravaganzas and a host of other festive activities.
Serving as the official kick-off to the holiday season in El Dorado is the Downtown Holiday Lighting Ceremony, which is set for 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 16.
The event will feature local dance groups, singers and other performers.
Emceeing the event will be Cindy Langston, of MyArkLaMiss (KTVE/KARD), and Karen Hicks, vice president of membership and events for the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce.
The Salvation Army of El Dorado will kick off its annual Red Kettle holiday fundraising campaign while serving hot chocolate and cookies to the crowd.
The SouthArk Stars athletic teams will flip the switch to illuminate the holiday lights downtown.
The remainder of the holiday lineup includes:
Downtown Holiday Open House, 1 - 4 p.m., Nov. 19. Downtown shops, restaurants and other venues will offer special savings, sales and seasonal treats.
Rides will be offered for free on a horse-drawn carriage and Queen City Train. Santa will be on hand for free photos.
At 1 p.m., new downtown restaurant Gourmet 2 Geaux will host Kat Robinson, author of "The Great Arkansas Pie Book." The event will include pie tastings, book sales and a meet-and-greet and book signings with Robinson.
Across the square, PJ's Coffee will host Louisiana author Ann Marie Jameson for a meet-and-greet from noon until 4 p.m.
Pre-Black Friday, 7 - 11 p.m., Nov. 23.
Downtown shops will provide an early start to holiday shopping on Thanksgiving with sales and pajama-party themed event.
Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25. Shoppers are encouraged to join the national campaign promoted by American Express to support small businesses -- local, independent retailers, restaurants and business owners. Free holiday gift totes will be available in participating stores while supplies last.
El Dorado, Christmas Parade, 7 p.m., Dec. 7.
Santa on the Square, Dec. 9.
The day will kick off from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. with a new activity. Pancakes and Pajamas with Santa will be held at new downtown restaurant Barefoot Bistro.
Breakfast will include pancakes, bacon and choice of milk or orange juice.
The cost is $25.
Parents are encouraged to bring their kids, their wish lists and a festive spirit.
Register online at https://pancakes-with-santa-61939.cheddarup.com.
Free train and horse-and-carriage rides and Santa will be available from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Other happenings that are planned downtown for the holiday season include other opportunities to mingle and take free photos with Santa.
The DBA is sponsoring the meet-and-greets from 1 - 4 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 2 - 5 p.m. on Dec. 2.
Check the Downtown El Dorado and MSE Facebook pages for updates and exact locations in which Santa will appear.
Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available each weekend between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
The cost is $30 per couple and $5 each for additional riders.
MSE also offers gift cards in $25 increments that are redeemable at participating retail stores and restaurants in the downtown area.
For more information, call the MSE office 870-862-4747 or visit. www.mainstreeteldorado.org. Also, follow @mainstreeteldorado on social media.