TOWANDA - Tonight's First Friday celebration in downtown Towanda will feature a holiday parade, a magic and juggling show, a Living Nativity, horse-drawn wagon rides, Christmas sales, and much more, organizers said. Participating in the parade, which begins at 7 p.m., will the Towanda High School Band, the Towanda Homecoming Court, trucks from several fire departments, the Cat in the Hat and other costumed characters, 2011 Bradford-Sullivan Outstanding Young Woman Catherine Morelli, the Troy Fair Queen, the Bradford County dairy princess, the Maggi Frawley dancers, the Endless Mountain dancers, floats, horses, and more, said Elaine Poost, a member of the First Friday Committee.

Santa, who will bring up the rear of the parade, will meet with all area children following the parade at his new Santa house in the mid-town parking lot in the 400 block of Main Street, Poost said.

At the Santa house, Santa will give out "gift packets with a special surprise" to the children, said Cindy Wilcox, a member of the Towanda Business Association, which is co-sponsoring the event.

The parade starts at Plank Road and then travels south on Main Street through Towanda's downtown to Elizabeth Street, where it turns east and ends in the parking lot of One Progress Plaza.

Today's First Friday event, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m., will also feature carolers, crafts vendors, horse wagon rides, Christmas tree sales, and an opportunity to make a Christmas craft for free at Ben Franklin Crafts, and more, according to the First Friday Committee.

As part of the First Friday event, there will be free magic and juggling shows at the Winding River Players' Black Box Theatre today at 5:15 p.m., 6:15 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. "You need to get there early if you want a seat" because the number of seats in the theater is limited, Poost said.

During First Friday today, stores in the downtown will be having special Christmas sales, she said.

The theme of today's First Friday event is "Winterfest."

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail: