December 2, 2014

Christmas season off to a fast start

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

Last Friday, Nov. 28, the Christmas season in Watford City officially kicked-off, complete with music, shopping, food, hot chocolate, Santa, and the Parade of Lights. Kids were laughing with excitement all bundled up in their winter gear. Parents were hand-in-hand with their children, who anxiously awaited seeing Santa and taking in all that Watford City had to offer.
“I think it’s been one of the best Fridays, following Thanksgiving, we’ve had in a long time,” said Josslyn Dodds, manager at Barrett Pharmacy & Variety. “There was just this tight-knit community feel, you know, a warm and cozy feeling. It was just great and went really well.”
As people started to gather along Main Street for the highly anticipated Parade of Lights, vendors were setting up tables filled with foods and goodies. A couple girls walked around handing out free hot chocolate. Music started to fill the air and kids actually got to take in a live Nativity Scene, complete with real-life animals.
“It was a very good weekend, overall,” said Mark Sparby, Saddle Up co-owner. “It went very well. And the weather was conducive, so people could still be out and enjoy what was going on. I heard a lot of good comments.”
Once the Parade of Lights began, viewers were able to enjoy approximately 28 creatively-decorated floats. Some of the floats included a living room from A Christmas Story, Sesame Street, and the Grinch. There were Christmas characters throwing candy with lots of Christmas music being broadcast and sung. Buddy the Elf was there making his appearance, along with Santa! Santa even did a fly-over from the Watford City Fire Department’s new ladder truck.
“Overall, I thought it was a very good parade,” said Sparby. “The lights were lit up really nice and the floats were done really well.”
“I think it’s the longest parade we’ve had,” said Dodds. “And I’ve been here for 12 years now. I kept hearing from different customers about how amazing the parade was. There were a lot of positive comments. The whole day was just good positive reinforcement for business owners here.”
In the Grinch’s opinion, “It was a blast!” Mark Clemons, senior trust officer and manager with First International Bank & Trust, dressed up as the Grinch to play his part in the Parade of Lights and really enjoyed it.
According to Sparby and Dodds, the local businesses seemed to do well with the kick-off event leading into this year’s Christmas season. Overall, sales were up and there was a steady traffic of customers.
“I think people were more comfortable shopping in town this year,” said Sparby. “People seemed to really enjoy it. We had good sales and we had good deals for the public.”
In addition to Friday’s festivities, the local Food Pantry had a trailer that people were encouraged to fill with canned food items. And apparently, that was pretty successful as well.
“I heard a lot of people talking about the Food Pantry as they shopped in the store that day,” said Dodds. “I hope they collected a lot.”
  The unanimous vote is official - Watford City residents can really display Christmas Spirit and they know how to show their real small town charm. If you missed this year’s Christmas season kick-off festivities, you won’t want to miss next year’s!