Saturday, Dec. 3 Commercial Street was bustling with great holiday excitement. The road was barricaded to allow all the citizens of Morgan to join in happy celebration. This second annual Ol’ Time Christmas built on a successful run last year and brought residents together. There were various activities to appeal to all who attended.
Since all of Santa’s reindeer are at the North Pole resting and preparing for Christmas, Santa Claus was ushered up Commercial Street in style, riding in on our Fire Truck and waving to every child young and old. The jolly old man lifted hundreds of children onto his lap and asked what he could bring them this Christmas Eve. Santa Claus found the children of our town delightful and grateful. He was happy to be able to see so many children. By the end of the night St. Nick found himself aching and stiff, but fulfilled with a magical evening of children’s wishes.
Although Mrs. Claus didn’t receive the same elaborate mode of transport as her significant other, she was as jolly as old St. Nick herself. She delighted children with enchanting Christmas stories. Her love of all children was apparent as she entertained large groups, or sometimes sitting with a single child. Her merry smile graced our street as she walked around during the evening’s entertainment.
The Grinch and friends stopped by Mrs. Claus’ to try and steal all of the Christmas cheer but soon learned that Christmas is more than just packages and gifts. Chasten Netz played the darling Cindy Loo Who which encounters the mean old Grinch, played by Stacey Lafette. The part of the Grinch’s trusty sidekick Max was acted out by Brennon Netz. The pair of villains planned to steal all the things he thought made Christmas, but after an interactive song by the audience he decided to change his ways.
An old café housed an amazing display of Gingerbread houses. From huts inspired by the Pacific Ocean to nativity scenes, Morgan residents tried their hand at decorating the traditional treat with icing and candy. Adults and children dreamily gazed at the sugary houses, excellently crafted by neighbors and friends. Mayor Egbert was able to cast a vote, and Faith White won the title of “Mayors Choice”. Ashlee Earl and Molly Adams created an amazing gingerbread house and earned 3rd place and $100. Krista Johansen reconstructed Commercial Street out of the delicious building blocks to take home 2nd place and $200. It had famous Morgan sites, with the Browning Outlet store, and our favorite The Morgan County News! Melissa Platt was awarded top prize for her bountiful traditional gingerbread display. She not only is recognized as best decorator, but also took home $300. She joked that her husband would be happy he didn’t have to eat the things leftover from her decoration for dinner.
At the end of the street a children’s game room was set up. This boisterous room was continually filled with happy children and families patiently waiting in line to play various free games. Each child had an opportunity to bowl, play plinko, ring toss and more to win tickets. After all the games, they would add up their tickets and take them to the prize counter to choose out their reward. Smiling volunteers took the time to let each patron find the perfect item. A train at the other end of the festivities took little passengers for a ride. Most every door in between had a sign for Elf on the Shelf, an activity that led participants in and out of shops and stores to earn a reward.
Throughout the night the crowd was provided engaging entertainment. The fourth grade had practiced and perfected a jovial presentation of song and action. Local youth danced the night away with their various routines. Each person that donated a toy for Sub for Santa received an entry to win a drawing for gift cards for various locations around town and the grand prize TV.
The evening was capped off with a countdown to the official lighting of the Christmas trees, and then a sight right out of a fairytale. Each family that braved the icy weather was rewarded with a white paper lantern. Several dozen were lit and then sent flying through the air, that by this time had become quit brisk. It didn’t matter the age, this was a unique site to see.
Ol’ Time Christmas was a jovial night for our community to come together and celebrate the season of friendship and togetherness like years passed. Longtime residents remember Morgan regularly having festivities; however until the last year or so it seemed these things had all but vanished. Thanks to a hard working team in our local leadership new traditions are being established and they are very worthwhile.
This evening took a lot of work by a lot of people. Shelly Betz who oversaw the whole event was very pleased with the outcome. By the end of the night she fought back her emotions of having pulled off such a large event in such a great way. She was truly grateful for everyone involved.
She rattled off a list of those that contributed to this night. Lisa Wilson decorated, and Bambi Pinhey set up an Elf on the Shelf game. Stacy Lafitte pleased the crowd with entertainment. Tiffany _ oversaw vendors and Shelly took care of the children’s games and everything else.