|People take to the streets of Holyoke|
|Written by April Peregoy|
Mother Nature cooperated yet again this year, providing mild temperatures for the Country Christmas event that took place Monday night, Dec. 1. Holiday shoppers took full advantage of the opportunity to shop for bargains into the late evening hours, and also to enjoy the various festivities. This year’s annual Country Christmas event sponsored by Holyoke Chamber of Commerce proved to be yet another successful one, as the evening kicked off the busy holiday season.
As always, the most popular activity of the evening was the Parade of Lights, which featured 14 floats this year, all decorated in conjunction with the “Looking Forward to Christmas Future” theme for the night. Regent Park and Carriage House took top honors in the parade, followed by second place float Holyoke Community Federal Credit Union, and third place went to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Santa and Mrs. Claus (Willie Morse and Melissa Mayden) made an appearance to turn on the Christmas lights in downtown Holyoke, as well as spend some time visiting with local children.
Around 85 children gave their wish lists to Santa at the Vets Club, where the Holyoke Volunteer Firemen were serving up hot soup and chili for proceeds to benefit their Fourth of July fireworks display. The firemen had a good turnout for the evening, serving around 375 meals. A number of contests were held as part of Country Christmas festivities, including a tree decorating contest for adults and children as well as a decorative window contest for local businesses.
First Pioneer National Bank took top honors in the tree decorating, while Holyoke Community Federal Credit Union won for best creative window. Scheunemann’s Department Store was named second place in the window contest. Community members participated in several other activities during the Country Christmas event, including a free movie at the Peerless Theatre, which played to a packed house of over 150 viewers. Hayrack rides were another popular activity, as scores of children and adults took in the lights and sounds of Holyoke from atop a horse-driven wagon.
Holyoke Lions Club, in traditional fashion, served up hot cider for visitors who stopped by the Lions Mini Park on the corner of Interocean and Denver. More than 50 visitors stopped by the Phillips County Museum to view special Christmas displays. Collections on display included various nativities and Christmas decorations. Each year the number of participants in the Country Christmas activities continues to grow, ensuring that the event will be a part of many future Christmas seasons to come.