By Pat Maurer
Clare’s annual Christmas Celebration is set for Saturday, December 1 all over town.
The day’s events begin with the arrival of Santa at Ponderosa to have breakfast with the youngsters (12 and under) there between 9 and 11 a.m.
After Breakfast, Santa will head downtown on the Clare Fire Truck to his house in Clare City Park where youngsters can visit with him between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Santa’s Reindeer will be on hand too and just waiting for a visit with area youngsters between noon and 3 p.m. at City Park.
Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available around town between noon and 3 p.m. and area businesses will feature Christmas sales and specials for shoppers.
Santa plans to be at his house in Clare City Park every Friday and Saturday before Christmas. Friday hours are 6 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday afternoons, Santa will be there from 2 to 5 p.m.
Sponsors for Clare’s Christmas activities include Chemical Bank (Carriage rides), Clare Rotary Club (Reindeer) and Isabella Bank (Santa).
December 8 is the big day for both Farwell and Harrison’s Christmas celebrations.
Farwell’s annual “Holiday Lights Festival,” sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, begins at 10 a.m. that Saturday with several activities while Harrison’s annual Christmas Celebration and Parade, sponsored by the Harrison Chamber of Commerce, begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a special Memorial Reading, refreshments and a Christmas Story Reading at Hillside Gymnasium.
In Farwell, the “Make it, Take it Crafts starts at 10 a.m. at Elm Creek and lasts until 2 p.m. A Luncheon [by the Minor Diner] in the Farwell High School cafetorium is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Holiday Lights Marketplace – a special craft show – will be held in the FHS gymnasium from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m.
More activities begin at 11 a.m.
You can “Decorate a Snowball” at the Sweet Spot in Eagle Pharmacy from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can “Decorate a Cookie” with the purchase of a meal at Deb and Jesse’s Down Home Diner between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
At noon the Silent Auction Begins in the FHS cafetorium, which is also the site and time (between 12 and 2 p.m.) to register your Gingerbread House entry.
At 1 p.m. the 50/50 drawing will be held in the FHS Gym, and between 1 and 3 p.m. Santa will be in the FHS Cafetorium to visit with youngsters. His visit is sponsored by the Farwell Area Women’s Club.
From 2 to 4 p.m. Family Pictures will be taken at the Farwell Village Office and from 2 to 4:45 p.m. kids can sign up in the Village Park for the Children’s Christmas Drawing, which is sponsored by Isabella Bank.
Kid’s Games and Music and concessions will also be ongoing in the park from 2 to 4:30 p.m.; a Petting Zoo will be open there from 2 to 4 p.m. and Santa’s reindeer will be on hand for the kids to see from 3 to 5 p.m.
At the Village Park Pavilion, Joel Tacey will present “A Wacky Winter Comedy Show at 3:15 p.m. Following his show, a 50/50 drawing will be held in the Park at 4:15 p.m., and the Methodist Children’s Choir will perform in the Pavilion at 4:30 p.m.
Winners in the Children’s Christmas Drawings will be announced in the park following the choir performance. Winners must be present.
The event everybody will be waiting for – Farwell’s Holiday “Lights” Parade will wind down Main Street beginning at 5:30 p.m. Line-up is between 5 and 5:30 p.m. in the Isabella Bank parking lot. This year’s parade theme is “Light Up the Night,” and there’s no fee to enter, only a $5 fee to be judged.
At 6 p.m., the Holiday Dinner will begin in the FHS Cafetorium and at 7 p.m. the Silent Auction closes and the Gun Raffle & 50/50 drawings will be held. 50/50 drawing winners must be present.
Silent Auction items can be picked up at 7:30 p.m. at the conclusion of this year’s festival.
This year’s sponsors include Panera Bread, Crystal Mountain, Isabella Bank, Farwell Trading Post, Carried Away Photography, The Sweet Spot, Elm Creek, Deb & Jesse’s Down Home Diner, the Farwell Area Women’s Club, Jarred’s Express Mart and the Minor Diner.