Santa Claus is coming to town

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By Bryan Marshall

Thanksgiving may still be weeks away, but it is never too early to begin preparations for Christmas.

Grant County residents can show their holiday cheer during the second annual Santa’s Wonderland on Saturday, Dec. 6., featuring free food, fun and a visit from Santa Claus.

“It’s kind of a kickoff to the Christmas season,” said Wade Gutman, executive director of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce. “It was meant for getting everyone in the spirit of Christmas.”

The day will start off at 8 a.m. with a free breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Williamstown Kiwanis, in the Williamstown High School cafeteria.

The meal will be followed at 10:30 a.m. by a free play production of “A Christmas Carol” in the Williamstown High School gymnasium.

The play is sponsored by Community Enrichment Through the Arts (CETA), Grant County Community Education, Grant County Parks and Recreation and Grant County Chamber of Commerce.

The Christmas parade will begin at approximately 1 p.m. in downtown Williamstown.

“The Kiwanis usually feed about 60 to 80 people at the pancake breakfasts,” Gutman said. “They fed over 800 last year. The children’s play probably had 500 to 600 attend it. I imagine those figures will go up this year. We guessed that somewhere between 800 and 1,200 people were at the parade.”

Businesses have several opportunities to participate in Santa’s Wonderland, including building a Christmas theme parade float.

A detailed description of the float entry must accompany a parade application.

Applications can be picked up at the Grant County Chamber of Commerce office.

A traveling trophy will be awarded to float winners in three categories: Best in the Eyes of a Child, Best entry by a Church and Best Commercial Entry.

Judging will take place prior to the parade and winners will be announced by the Master of Ceremonies, Williamstown Baptist Pastor Darrell Morgan, during the parade.

“We’ve got a lot more earlier participation than we had last year,” Gutman said. “It looks like the parade may be bigger.”

“We had eight floats last year, along with the fire trucks, bands and all that stuff,” he said. “We already have 10 signed up this year. We didn’t have any at this time last year.”

Businesses and organizations also can be a part of and design a “Living Christmas Card.”

Participants will be actors in a live greeting card depicting a Christmas scene in a downtown business window. Space is limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Prizes also will be awarded for first, second and third place for the best decorated wooden snowmen.

A three-, four- or six-foot wooden snowman can be purchased for $10, $15 and $25, respectively.

The snowmen will be decorated in a theme of your choice and displayed at “Frosty’s Pointe” downtown.

“Last year, people decorated wooden Christmas trees,”Gutman said. “We had a bunch of those sold and decorated. It went over real big. The decorating is the time consuming part. They were really something to see last year. Some of them were really phenomenal.”

Gutman said he hopes Santa’s Wonderland becomes a holiday tradition in Grant County.

“We’re just hoping for a pretty day for it,” he said. “I think people can have a good time all day. It’s all free. It should be a good day.”

To participate in the parade, the “Living Christmas Card” or purchase a wooden snowman, call Tracie Rothwell at the Grant County Chamber of Commerce office at 824-3322.