If you're looking for a way to kick off the Christmas season, consider heading to Vevay in southeast Indiana along the Ohio River. Switzerland County Tourism and Vevay Main Street are coordinating their holiday activities to give residents and visitors a festive time.

There will be a lot of free activities and fun things to do, not only for the general public, but for the shop owners as well. Local businesses and organizations will decorate their windows and storefronts for the first ever Light Up Main Street holiday contest. Any business, merchant, and/or organization in the downtown historic district of Vevay is eligible, and the top three winning businesses will receive prizes.

Ugly Sweater ContestEven if you're not in the Light Up Main Street contest, there's still something for the Christmas-competitive: The Deck the District contest is looking for handmade wreaths for their annual wreath contest from individuals, groups, or businesses. The wreath exhibit will open at the art center Friday, December 5 from 6-9 p.m. and remain on display through December 18.

For the December 5 Vevay’s First Friday, Light Up and Jingle, Everybody Mingle, the Switzerland County Visitor Center is hosting an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. Everyone is invited to "don us now in bad apparel" with hand-decorated Christmas sweaters or vests, the uglier the better. They'll be giving up to nine gift certificate prizes to local businesses.

My favorite feature? Free carriage rides will be available around downtown Vevay from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, weather permitting.

Santa will arrive in Vevay, escorted by the Vevay Police Department around 7:15 pm on Friday, December 5 by the park near 316 Ferry Street. He'll travel to Paul Ogle Riverfront Park and visit with kids of all ages. And the official light-up of the Paul Ogle Festival of Lights will take place after Santa’s arrival.

Finally, the Switzerland County Historical Society will showcase a simple country Christmas at the 1820s Musee de Venoge and a more modern Christmas at the mid-1800s Thiebaud Farmstead from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 6. Contact (812) 427-3560 for more information or visit www.switzcomuseums.org.

For more information on Switzerland County and holiday events, call (812) 427-3237 or e-mail visitsc@switzcotourism.com. Information on lodging, county events, and local businesses be found on the Switzerland County Tourism website at switzcotourism.com or join their Facebook fan page at Switzerland County Tourism-Vevay, IN.