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Miss America will return for city tree lighting

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Miss America will be home for the holidays.

Laura Kaeppeler, the Carthage College and St. Joseph High School graduate crowned Miss America in January, will return to Kenosha on Friday, Nov. 23 for the city of Kenosha’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Kaeppeler will perform several Christmas songs with local jazz group Synergy during the program, 4 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 23.

City Community Relations Liaison Kris Kochman said the city wanted to find another opportunity to bring Kaeppeler to Kenosha after she served as grand marshal of the Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade and performed with the Kenosha Pops on July 1.

“If we had the opportunity to bring her back one more time, we thought this was a good opportunity,” Kochman said. “It’s a free public event and it’s a family event and the kids love seeing her. We asked if she was available for this date and she was.”

Kochman said Kaeppeler is looking forward to the return home as well.

“Her manager said Laura was thrilled that she would be able to do this,” Kochman said. “This is special to her, to be able to see all of these familiar faces.”

Kaeppeler is also expected to make an appearance at the Jockey Factory Store, 5500 Sixth Ave., some time after the ceremony.

Kaeppeler’s appearance adds to an already active night for downtown Kenosha on Nov. 23.

The city chose to move its tree-lighting ceremony from the first weekend of December to Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, to coordinate with the Lakeshore Business Improvement District’s Lightin’ Up Downtown activities. The Lightin’ Up event includes special sales, promotions, family activities and musical performances around the downtown area.

The city of Kenosha and BID are also covering the costs for a city streetcar, with Santa Claus riding along, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 23. The streetcar will be free during that time.

“I think this is a nice gesture by the city and the downtown to offer this for free to the community,” Deanna Goodwin, director of marketing for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, said.

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