Parade of Lights to start Christmas season
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
Thanksgiving is roughly the same time every year, yet it never ceases to sneak up on everyone. Thankfully, there is always some that are prepared for the impending holiday season – like the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce and area Chamber businesses and organizations.
According to Mary Gumke, Chamber coordinator, the Chamber has been working hard to secure key ‘must haves’ for the city of Watford City’s Christmas celebration, which is actually kicking off this Friday.
“We just got a confirmation from our Santa that he will be a part of our celebration this weekend,” states Gumke. “We are very excited.”
Gumke states that Santa will not only be a part of the Watford City Parade of Lights, taking place on Friday, Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m., but he will be available for pictures at the Watford City Fire Hall following the parade until 8:30 p.m.
This year’s Parade of Lights will feature roughly 15 to 25 floats from local businesses and organizations. Anyone wishing to have a float in the parade that has not spoken with Gumke should either call her at the Chamber office number or they can line up at the Watford City Elementary School with the rest of the floats at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
In addition to the parade, the Chamber is also offering area residents the chance to donate to the McKenzie County Food Pantry.
“We did this last year and it was very successful,” states Gumke. “We will be setting up a trailer on Main Street at 5:30 p.m. and are inviting everyone who plans on attending the parade to bring a canned good or non-perishable food item to the trailer.”
The Chamber would love to see the trailer be filled with food items for the McKenzie County Food Pantry, and anyone who helps in that effort will be entered into a drawing.
“There will be 10 drawings in all,” states Gumke. “And the winner of each drawing will win $100 in Watford City Bucks.”
People who forget their food item can also purchase a ticket for $1 and still be entered into the drawing. From those funds, the Chamber hopes to donate turkeys to the McKenzie County Food Pantry for their December food distribution.
The following day, Saturday, Nov. 29, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Santa will be hanging out in the gallery of First International Bank & Trust where he will be available for pictures or to just visit with area children.
Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in 6 Shooters’ Showhall, the Chamber has set up a free viewing of the newly-released movie, “Penguins of Madagascar.”
“There are two showings of the movie on Saturday, but only the 1 p.m. matinee will be free to children 12 years of age and younger,” states Gumke. “Parents are also welcome to come, but they will have to pay for their tickets.”
Traditionally, the Chamber has offered ‘Free Movie Saturdays’ during the Christmas holiday shopping season, but they have found in recent years that their attendance has been declining.
“This year we thought we would change things up and offer a free showing of a new movie, rather than a previously-released Christmas movie,” states Gumke.
Parents need to know that seating is limited and free tickets will only be offered for the number of available seating.
Starting Monday, Dec. 1, and taking place each Monday until Dec. 22, Watford City shoppers can sign up at Chamber businesses for a chance to win $250 in Watford City Bucks.
Then on Wednesday, Dec. 10, the Merry Christmas Elf will be circulating around the town. The first person to wish the Merry Christmas Elf a “Merry Christmas” will win $25 in Watford City Bucks.
Gumke states that Watford City Bucks spend like cash at any Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce business. Gumke also wants area residents to know that both First International Bank & Trust and Dakota West Credit Union are offering zero percent interest Christmas loans, up to $1,000, for anyone who qualifies. The loans are in the form of Watford City Dollars, which can be used at any Watford City Chamber business.
Finally, Gumke is urging all area residents to check with their favorite Chamber businesses and stores for extended shopping hours through the holiday season.