Snow is on the ground and the lights are going up! That’s right, it’s now officially Christmas season, and with it comes many opportunities to celebrate.
Dishing out their own brands of holiday cheer this weekend are the cities of Wallace and Osburn, as each hosts its own Christmas event.
Wallace kicked off another year of its annual Retro Christmas festival (formerly known as the Yuletide Festival) on Friday, Nov. 30, but will be holding events today and next weekend as well.
Put on by the Wallace Chamber of Commerce and the Wallace Marketing Group, the festival is jam-packed with a variety of unique events to not only celebrate the time of the year, but also to boost curiosity.
“We try to make them (the events) different just so more people will come and enjoy them!” Wallace Chamber Vice President and event organizer Anita Price said. “We want everybody to get into the Christmas spirit and have fun.”
Today’s events will start out with jolly ol’ St. Nicholas offering breakfast (provided by the 1313) at 9 a.m. at the Eagles building on Cedar Street.
Following breakfast, roughly 14 contestants will seek the title of Mr. and Ms. Snowflake in the annual competition, also at the Eagles building. All contestants will receive stockings filled with presents from Santa afterward.
At noon, Santa will enlist the help of the firefighters from Shoshone County Fire District No. 1 and appear at the Northern Pacific Depot Railroad Museum atop a firetruck. Santa will be available to take pictures until 2 p.m.
Also starting at noon, a variety of different activities and classes will be offered in downtown Wallace until 3 p.m.
All with a Christmas theme, the activities include cookie and face decorating at Fonks, ornament and bow making at the Mining Museum, hair braiding with ribbons and the Brooks Hair Salon, treasure hunting at Johnson’s Gems, gift wrapping fundraiser at the Fox & Hare Mt. Ware, and gift bag decorating at Idaho Silver.
The night will top off with free hayrides from 5 to 7 p.m. departing from the Depot that will take passengers through the neighborhood.
A local artisan craft fair will also be going at the Depot from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 2, 7 and 8.
The holiday fun in Wallace will carry over to the following weekend as well.
On Dec. 7, the Wallace Coffee House will host a Charles Dickens story reading at 1 p.m.
Later that afternoon, a lighted parade will make its way through downtown Wallace starting at 6 p.m. featuring several different floats.
After the parade, free hayrides will once again be available, but this time from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The day will conclude with a live holiday show at 7 p.m. at the Sixth Street Theater.
The final day of the event (Dec. 8) is reserved for a local favorite — the PAW parade.
Dog owners are encouraged to dress up their furry friends in Christmas attire and bring them to the Brooks Hotel parking lot at 11 a.m. From there, owners can walk their dogs in a parade with the other participants.
Last year, the PAW parade had a total of 67 dogs participate.
Santa will once again be available for pictures from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Depot and the previous Saturday events will also continue downtown at the same times.
The Retro Christmas Festival will wrap up with another live holiday show from the Sixth Street Theater at 2 p.m. and free hayrides from 5 to 7 p.m.
With the packed list of activities and events, Price is hopeful that this year’s event will have a strong turnout.
“The Christmas festival has been a long-standing tradition,” she said. “I’d love for people to come out, enjoy Christmas and get a good start on it!”
Down the interstate just a little ways, the City of Osburn is also geared up for Christmas with a festival of their own this weekend.
The festival truly began Friday evening with a tree lighting ceremony followed by a community prayer.
Dubbing Osburn “The City That Still Believes,” it should be no surprise that this morning will open with a breakfast with Santa Claus at Mom’s Vintage Eatery at 8 a.m.
Right after breakfast there will be vendors and games opening the Steins’ parking lot at 10 a.m.
Throughout the day there will be hayrides and other activities, but this evening the event will really pick up steam.
Following a fun exploration of the Candy Cane Forest just passed Silver Hills Elementary School (SHES), families can check out a Nativity re-enactment at the same location at 5 p.m.
Following the Nativity will be the staging for the lighting festival parade in the SHES parking lot and then the parade will begin at 7 p.m.
After the parade makes its way through town, families are encouraged to come back to the Steins parking lot for a street dance.
Many of the events will run through Sunday, including the vendors and games with 5 p.m. being the festival’s conclusion at the Candy Cane Forest.
Organizer Candy Gilmore hopes that the event goes well and that the kids have a good time.
“It’s really geared toward the kids, we want them to have a great time,” Gilmore said. “Please make sure and call and put your child on the list to see Santa. We want to make sure everyone gets to see Santa for those Christmas wishes.”
The Osburn Christmas Festival began Friday, Nov. 30, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 2, with the lighting parade at 7 p.m. today, Dec. 1.
For more information, or to secure a spot with Santa call Candy Gilmore at (208) 556-1668.