Celebrating Christmas Clare-style

Santa quickly spotted his picture when this smiling little lady opened her book to show the jolly old fellow.

Santa quickly spotted his picture when this smiling little lady opened her book to show the jolly old fellow.

By Steve Landon
Correspondent
photos by Steve Landon

Having packed on a few pounds over Thanksgiving many area residents and visitors alike were anxious to burn those excess calories enjoying the most wonderful time of the year – the Christmas Holiday. This past weekend the City of Clare rolled out the red carpet for young and old to kick off the season with “It’s a Wonderful Life” – in Clare.

Held in 2016 at the intersection of McEwan and Fourth Streets, this year’s event would take center stage in front of the historic Clare Railroad Depot and Clare Castle Senior Retirement Apartments on Fourth Street. As in 2016 area merchants offered several activities from cookie decorating to a special showing at the Ideal Theater of the 1947 movie classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart and Donna Reed.

Clear skies and chilly temperatures quickly put visitors in the holiday spirit; the only thing missing was a fresh coat of snow. Festivities officially got under way with the arrival of old St. Nick at the Depot where he quickly went to work greeting and listening to wide eyed youngsters as they eagerly gave the jolly old fellow their Christmas wish list.  While waiting for Santa visitors grabbed a cookie, checked out some cool model trains in action and watched youngsters make crafts. Even Mrs. Claus got involved taking lists when Santa had to leave the building to go to another event.

At 10:30 a.m. dancers from Newman School of Dance took center stage in front of Clare Castle with a “Flash Mob”. Dancers ranging in age from toddlers to advanced teenagers packed the street dancing to holiday music before a huge crowd.  “Mamarazzi” armed with cameras, phones and video devices packed every nook and cranny determined to get that perfect shot of their dancer in action. Following the dance the Clare Gateway Community Band “Christmas Brass” performed popular tunes out front of the Clare Castle.

History buffs or those looking for a relaxing step back to simpler times enjoyed a horse drawn wagon ride that took them on a little tour from the depot, a sight no doubt common back when the depot opened over 122 years ago.

In addition to several family fun activities, area merchants offered some great deals on merchandise and services to holiday shoppers looking for that perfect gift.

Great weather, wonderful merchants, volunteers and the Clare Area Chamber of Commerce made this year’s holiday celebration another huge success.

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