Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Spirit Parade and Santa Visit is Saturday

Although nationally the unofficial start of the Christmas season is the day after Thanksgiving with the shopping frenzy, in Baldwin, the Christmas season is kicked off with a less commercial emphasis.

Saturday at 1:00 the 18th annual Christmas Spirit Horse and Wagon Parade will reach Main Street. Following the parade, Santa Claus will pay a visit to the Baldwin Municipal Center where he will visit with youngsters and everyone will receive a treat.

The Christmas Spirit Parade has attracted between 55 and 65 entries in recent years and there is no reason to think this year will be different.

According to Mike Smith, proprietor of the Lumber Company Brew Pub and Eatery and one of the organizers of the parade, the entries come from all over the upper mid-west, with a heavy emphasis, of course, on this region. He noted that many of the entries are decked out in fancy decorations and costumes in keeping with the Christmas season. The expenses for decorations may be substantial despite the meagerness of the $25 decoration prize, Smith said.

Each entry also receives a gift bag and door prizes and is treated to a pig roast with fixings at Bol's Lanes and Lounge. The meal is free to the parade entrants. Other may partake for a $4 charge.

Because there is no pre-registration for the parade, all entries are registered Saturday morning. The area in the vicinity of Cedar Street and 8th Avenue, is alive with activity as horses are unloaded from trailers and hitched to wagons. The parade leaves Bol's Lanes about 12:30 and reaches Main Street by 1:00.

Best viewing of the parade is along Main Street and cars will be prohibited from parking along the 800 block.

The parade is a chance for people with horses and wagons to show them off, said Smith.

Santa Claus' visit at the Baldwin Municipal Center will begin about 1:30 and last until about 3:00 p.m., or as long as there are children waiting to visit with him. Pictures with Santa will be available. There will be treats for all.

Santa's visit is sponsored by the Baldwin Area Chamber of Commerce, Suzanne Wynveen Photography and Vital Plastics, Inc.