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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The day after Thanksgiving means Black Friday, leftovers and the start of a new holiday season.

But before Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and his special guest, Santa Claus, kick off the December holidays with "Light up Louisville" on Friday, there's lots of work that needs to be done at Fourth and Jefferson streets.

The area dubbed "Holiday Plaza" was buzzing this week as crews helped turn downtown into an early winter wonderland. A small army of electricians, sound techs and carpenters helped build chalets and a stage.

But perhaps the biggest undertaking: The ice rink.

"We really start building the ice rink the first of November," said Simmons Falk, technical director at Axxis Inc. "We slowly build layers on top of the lines that run under it that have just have cold fluid pumping through them and we slowly build layer after layer of ice."

There's also thousands of yards of cable to be laid -- and wires, decorations and lights. While some work is done in a single day, planning begins about three months in advance.

Once everything is in place, celebration begins with a parade at 7 p.m. It starts at the corner of 4th and Jefferson. More than 60 units will head up 4th street to 4th Street Live! Steve Buttleman, the official bugler of Churchill Downs, will serve as the parade's Grand Marshal.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Santa Claus will light up the city's holiday tree around 8 o'clock. 

The Holiday in the City Ice Rink is also open now until January 16th. Click here for hours and prices to the ice rink.

Once a one-night celebration, "Light Up Louisville" now marks the start of the month-long "Holiday in the City." Click here for a complete list of events


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