MV’s Magical Night to be Wednesday Dec. 1

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) has announced that Mount Vernon’s 31st annual Magical Night will once again be a drive-through event.

The CDG Magical Night Committee is working very closely with the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Police Department to create a safe drive-through route with plenty of signage and five police officers in place to help direct traffic. The route will go from the First Street Community Center at the east end of 1st Street up to the Cornell campus on the west end with a turnaround at Commons Circle to allow families in cars to see both sides of the street. Motorists are asked to drive around to Third St. SE by Ace Hardware to 1st St. SE entering the car parade at 1st Street SE at Third St./7th St. across from Lisbon Road.

“The Magical Night committee made the decision to continue as a drive-through event this year due to safety concerns,” said Joe Jennison, Director of Main Street and Marketing for the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG). “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, crowds became very large in some of our small venues. The event will not include indoor activities this year due to these safety concerns, and parking will not be allowed along the 1st Street route.”

The streets will be lined with luminaries as in previous years, as well as window decorations and the community’s growing list of animatronics set up in the storefront windows of individual businesses. Merchants will decorate their windows for the event, and along the way there will be several “tableaux vivants,” or living pictures with live performers, who will recreate scenes such as the live nativity, Whoville and the Grinch, the Nutcracker and other holiday favorites.

New displays this year will be living pictures honoring the movie “Frozen” and a giant Christmas card with holiday greetings from the local Girl Scouts.

Children are encouraged to write a letter to Santa and deliver it to Santa and Mrs. Claus direct from the window of the family car into a special mailbox created especially for the event. If the letter includes the child’s name and address, Santa has agreed to answer every letter he receives that has a return address.

The live cookie decorating workshop that has long been a Magical Night fixture at the First Street Community Center will change to a take-and-make stop with representatives from the Mount Vernon Parks & Rec department handing out kits on the street for families to take home and make the same cookies in their own kitchens.

The Annual Magical Night Craft Show will be back later in that week with hours set for Thursday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 3, from 1 to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Mount Vernon City Hall, 213 First Street NW.

“Magical Night is one of our most anticipated events of any year,” said Joe Jennison, Director of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG). “With lights and live animals and Santa Claus himself, this is the night that Mount Vernon celebrates the holiday season. Our local retail community will plan activities and sales beginning Thursday, Dec. 2. We are asking shoppers to return any time throughout the month of December to shop. But on Wednesday, Dec. 1, please drive through and enjoy Mount Vernon from the safety of your own car.”

Information on this and other Mount Vernon-Lisbon events is available at

About the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group
The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group exists to improve the social and economic well-being of Mount Vernon and Lisbon by capitalizing on their unique identity, assets and character. Mount Vernon was selected as a Main Street community in 2008, and practices economic development within the context of historic preservation.

Mount Vernon was named one of America’s “10 Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel magazine in October of 2009. More information is available at

About Main Street
The Main Street Approach is a copyrighted process of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The Program has been used in Iowa since 1986 with a total of 56 communities having participated.  Mount Vernon was selected as a Main Street community on March 4, 2008 by the State of Iowa, after submitting a comprehensive application and presenting to a select board of reviewers.


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