Make new memories with Christmas in the Foothills

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Many families and businesses have taken advantage of the recent warm fall weather to put up their Christmas decorations. Christmas in the Foothills is also gearing up to create a community-wide Christmas celebration.

Hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and decorated trees will highlight the Christmas in the Foothills event in Twin City Park Saturday. Beginning at 11 a.m., there will be vendors selling Christmas arts and crafts, a Santa's workshop where children and their parents can come and make two ornaments, one for the community Christmas tree in Magnolia Park, and one to take home, said Carla Watt, one of the organizers for the event.

Her husband, Jack Watt, has made some new decorations that will be displayed for the first time at the park.

"One of the goals of Christmas in the Foothills was to get new decorations for the town," Carla Watt said. "We're starting with Twin City Park, it's right in the center of town."

Also in the park will be a half circle of decorated Christmas trees. Volunteers have donated nine trees, Watt said, and there will be space available for families, businesses, clubs and church groups to put up and decorate a tree to add to the festive decor, and create a lane of decorated trees.

Watt said that Christmas in the Foothills is encouraging businesses to join in the community Christmas spirit by decorating their storefronts for Christmas, decorating a tree in the park, or both. There is no cost to do either, she said.

"Rather than ask for sponsorship we want the businesses to put that effort into dressing up the town," she said. "Businesses get hit up a lot. We want to make it as easy for people as we can."

Adding to the fun of the day will be a Christmas cookie judging. Anyone with a favorite cookie recipe is asked to write it down on a 5 x 7 card along with his or her name, and bring it with six cookies to be tasted. Winners will have bragging rights as to having the best Christmas cookies, and possibly a local Christmas cookie cookbook will develop from the entries, Watt said.

Sometime in the afternoon, Santa Claus will stop by his workshop and visit with the children there. Mrs. Claus and some of the elves will also be around that day. And the dog race, with people pulling sleds instead of dogs, will start around 1 p.m.

The annual Christmas parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, and wind its way to Magnolia Park where the community Christmas tree will be lit for the first time of the season.

During the week of Dec. 14, Christmas in the Foothills will award prizes for the best decorated homes and businesses. No entry fee is being charged, Watt said. Out-of-town judges will drive around and choose the homes and businesses that best reflect the Reason for the Season or Christmas Fantasia. The theme for this year is "Memories and Traditions."

"We want people to look back and find one very special thing in their life that means the world to them," she said.

For Watt, that means recalling the homemade Christmas decorations her family made every year: popcorn and cranberries strung into ropes and placed around the tree, and decorating with angel hair.

"Those are things we did every year," she said.

Those are the kinds of memories and traditions Christmas in the Foothills would like to see catch on in Marble Hill, so "we can start a community-wide tradition," Watt said.

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