Old Fashioned Christmas kicks off festive season

By Rob Vogt
It’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas.
The sights and sounds of the season will take over downtown Amundsen Park and the rest of downtown as the 24th annual Old Fashioned Christmas kicks off the festive season this Friday night, Dec. 1.
The event goes from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and is put on by the Claresholm and District Chamber of Commerce, the Claresholm Local Press, and Welcoming Claresholm.
“It’s a great way to kick off the Christmas season,” said Amanda Zimmer, publisher of the Local Press. “A great way to support local business, run into neighbours you haven’t seen in awhile and get out and support the local community.”
It will feature businesses open for late-night shopping until 9 p.m. and much more.
The official tree lighting, by Karen Linderman, this year’s citizen of the year, will take place at 6 p.m. near the park gazebo. Bronson Enterprises put up a lot of other lights in the park and those will be lit up by Kozo Chisanga, this year’s junior citizen of the year.
Back this year is the ATCO stage, featuring Christmas performers reading stories, singing carols, and much more from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“We have a great line up of entertainment,” Zimmer said.
Horse-drawn wagon rides that will take people, free of charge, around the downtown will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. as well, sponsored by Maxwell Capital Realty.
New this year will be a vendors’ market in the park running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., where lots of treats will be offered.
“Make sure you come and check it out,” Zimmer said.
The Welcoming Claresholm Committee will have a Cozy Corner with treats, information about Christmas traditions from around the world, acts of kindness, and photos with Mrs. Claus.
The Claresholm Fire Department will also have their annual bonfire starting at 6 p.m. by the gazebo.
There will be Christmas cookie decorating in the park, sparkle tattoos, Santa roaming between the pharmacy and dollar store, and Christmas carollers around the downtown from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A lot of businesses will be staying open late. Some will also be hosting pop-up tables, such as for home-based businesses.
Their staffs will also be dressing up in the spirit of Old Fashioned Christmas, and people can sign out costumes, supplied by Rita Toone, at the Claresholm Local Press starting right now.
Santa’s Gone Loonie will take over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the Claresholm Public Library will be open offering crafts for kids.
Over at the Claresholm museum they will be opening a new exhibit of dolls, and have Christmas carols around the Waack Piano at 7 p.m.
Back this year is beef on a bun, with meat cooked by the Claresholm Lions Club, and all proceeds going to the Claresholm Food Bank, available at the back of Claresholm Pharmacy.
There will be two different competitions for businesses as well. One is a festival of trees put on by the town’s economic development committee, and the other is a window decorating contest put on by the Claresholm and District Chamber of Commerce.
Zimmer invites everyone to come down to Amundsen Park for Old Fashioned Christmas.
“It should be a really fun night,” she said. “I’m excited to have things happening in Amundsen Park utilizing the updated space.”