November 04, 2013
Seldom does a one-hump camel become the central figure for a holiday celebration, but that is exactly what will happen Nov. 29 on the historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square in Danville.
An exciting new spin on a popular holiday tradition in Danville will allow residents and visitors to participate in an interactive holiday story entitled “Clarence the Christmas Camel” during this year’s Christmas on the Square event from 4 to 6 p.m. in Danville.
The Downtown Danville Partnership asked accomplished author and Danville resident Philip Gulley to write a children’s holiday story to add another element to their already popular Christmas on the Square event. They then took his story and asked local authors to help display it visually on windows around the Courthouse Square, said Laura Parker, a committee member for Christmas on the Square.
About 25 local artists from diverse backgrounds and mediums will bring the story to life by illustrating pages on 30 acrylic panels that will be displayed around the square. Each window will have an illustration, the page number it represents and the dialogue from the story matching that page.
Committee officials asked each artist to include Clarence in their illustration and give him one hump, but gave no other instructions allowing the freedom for interpretation and inspiration.
“We want the pages to be different,” Parker said. “That is the beauty of art. Clarence can be represented in a variety of ways.”
Gulley, who has 18 published books, said it was a joy to work on a children’s story that will be part of a holiday celebration in his hometown.
“The inspiration for Clarence came a few years back during Christmas on the Square,” Gulley said. “It was the first year they had the nativity scene that included a live camel, and I remember thinking, ‘I bet that is the first camel ever on the Courthouse Square.’ So when the town came to me to write this book, I thought of that camel.”
Phil’s wife, Joan, will host a special reading of the story to kick off Christmas on the Square at 4 p.m., Nov. 29 inside the Royal Theater. Following the reading, each window will be unveiled around the square. Page 1 will be located at the Mayberry Cafe, and the story will progress clockwise around the square ending on the northwest corner at the Hendricks County Courthouse Annex. Participants also can follow stenciled camel tracks around the square.
An accompanying coloring book distributed for free thanks to local sponsor Waste Management features all of the illustrations and complete story. It will be available for the first time at Christmas on the Square and throughout the month of December until supplies last.
The coloring books will be available at the Royal Theater following the reading and at four booths around the square. After the Christmas on the Square event, books can be picked up at the Mayberry Café, Gallery on the Square and the Danville Public Library. The window displays will remain up until at least Dec. 31, Parker said.
“We hope people will invite their friends, family and other visitors back to the square throughout the month,” she said. “This is all about creating a tradition and encouraging people to visit our downtown, which is a wonderful way to enjoy the season.”