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USF Announces 2016 Christmas Festivities

The University of Saint Francis has announced the schedule for its annual Christmas tradition of yuletide celebration, Christmas at USF.

Christmas at USF events begin on December 2. Many are free, and all have free parking. An event schedule with details follows. More information is also available at

Christmas in the Castle will allow visitors to tour historic Brookside, the former Bass mansion, and to see it specially decorated for Christmas by local florists and designers.

Christmas in the Castle:

Friday, Dec. 2 – 4-6 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3 – Noon-5 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 4 – Noon-5 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 5 – 4-6 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 6 – Noon-5 p.m. – Senior Day in the Castle ($5 for guests over 55)

Admission is $7 per person, $3 for children (10 and under). Tickets must be purchased in the North Campus lobby on event days. Free parking and shuttles for those with mobility issues are available at the North Campus.

A Fair Trade Alternative Shopping Bazaar will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and 4, from noon to 5:30 p.m. at the North Campus. The shopping bazaar offers high-quality, fairly traded handicrafts of disadvantaged producers from all over the world. “Fair trade” means that producers earn a fair price, get access to credit and training, and maintain long-term relationships with principled organizations.

USF students will perform Las Posadas at 5:30 on Dec. 4 as they walk through the USF campus, portraying Mary and Joseph’s journey in search of lodging. A traditional part of Hispanic Christmas celebrations, posadas (meaning "shelter" or “inns”) are held on each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas, from December 16 to 24. The USF procession will begin at the Pope John Paul II Center clock tower and proceed through campus before ending on the shore of Mirror Lake to lead into the Living Nativity.

Lighting of the Lake will honor special loved ones on Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Pope John Paul II Center amphitheater, in concert with the Living Nativity. As a symbol of Christmas, vigil lights will encircle part of Mirror Lake. Luminaries dedicated to loved ones can be purchased for the light display at $10 each by calling (260) 399-8037 by Nov. 25.

A Living Nativity with children’s petting zoo will take place Sunday, Dec. 4, with the petting zoo open from 5-5:45 p.m. and the Living Nativity at 6 p.m. in the amphitheater next to the Pope John Paul II Center. Students of the university community present the Living Nativity, which recalls the tradition of re-enacting the first Christmas, started in 1223 by St. Francis of Assisi. The event is free, with parking at the USF campus off Leesburg Road.