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Holiday lights and community at Robb Park
Thatcher at Millhouse Lights
THATCHER DREMSA got to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the grand opening of the Millhouse Lights Christmas lights display in Gays Mills.

GAYS MILLS - Were you among those of us who braved the cold to check out Gays Mills very own light show? 

The Mill House Lights debuted this past Saturday, December 14 and was really downright delightful. 

I have always loved the magic that is holiday lights. So, when I found out we’d be getting a extra special dose of them in Gays Mills I, admittedly was tickled. 

I was even trying to explain to my lifetime country dwelling partner Chasca the concept of driving around on Friday or Saturday night to look at the lights.

“Really, it’s a thing,” I offered in a convincing tone to my skeptical boyfriend. “My dad would take us to dinner, and we’d load up in the car and go drive around to the rich neighborhoods in town and look at all of their spectacular Christmas lights. It’s great!” 

The whole idea was lost to him, a man who grew up living as rural as possible, completely satisfied by the light show provided by all of the billions of twinkling lights in the sky, he could view aloft from the ridge at his childhood home. 

The special event was brought to us once again by the Friends of the Gays Mills Pool. The group that is working tirelessly to help restore and save our cool, blue oasis. Additionally, they also collected food for the Gays Mills Area Food Pantry. 

Spectators are given the option to drive through or take a stroll around the loop at Robb Park. Saturday hosted a special guest as well at the former Kickapoo River Museum and Mill House site. 

The grounds were lit up with an array of fun statutes, Christmas trees and lights of all colors. Our personal favorites were the Dinosaur and Abominable Snowman.  Our group consisted of a range of ages. One-year-old Wayls, who was just happy to be snuggled up in the baby carrier, Thatcher of course and a gaggle of tween girls who had a grand ole time taking selfies with all of the different lit objects. 

Jolly Old St. Nick himself was around for the fun, listening to requests and with the help of Mrs. Claus, handing out bags loaded with goodies for all the good little children of the area. 

Thatcher has visited with the big guy a couple of times already this season, always ready to provide him with his single request.

Without making eye contact he musters up to Santa, “Please, I’d like a Jurassic Park Dinosaur Legos, please!” and then attempts to get away as fast as possible. 

This night, he humored me and stood for a photo before snatching his bag full of goodies and making a break for his dad and brother who were waiting in the wings for him. 

After standing around, and ceasing his continual motion the cold set into him a little and he began squealing, like a three year old does. 

“I’m cooolllld! I NEED my hot cider! CIDER! CIDER! CIDER!” With the squealing request we made our way to the impressive wagon that had a host of sweet treats as well as the coveted cider and hot cocoa. The small Styrofoam cups filled to the brim with the rich hot cider was the best thing I had tasted in a long time. 

Thatcher had been the most excited for this moment where he would get to enjoy this special treat. So I knelt down to prepare him for the first sip, expecting a blissful three year old to emerge from his this crabby little creature he was turning into.

“IT’S TOOOOO HOTTTTTT!!!!!” he shrieked. This caught the attention of the Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz who rushed over and offered in a kind gesture to cut the hot cider with cold. I assured him that, Thatcher was just currently having a moment of ‘nothing will satisfy me’ and if we were to alter it, then it would be too cold. He laughed in that knowing way of someone whose been around many a kid in his day and carried on helping folks get their hands on some warm beverages. 

Hurrying back to the car, Thatcher rushed to get in and get the car started.  “That was too fun to be so collllld mama! There isn’t any snow! It shouldn't be SO COLD!” he griped as I buckled him in.  

“But did you have fun?”  I asked. 

“Oh, yes sweetheart,” Thatcher replied. “Let’s come back again next time. Now where’s my cider!?” 

There are still plenty of opportunities left to check out the Mill House Lights in Gays Mills. It will be running the next couple of weekends. The lights click on around 6 p.m. and all are encouraged to bring a donation for the Friends of the Gays Mills Pool or a nonperishable food item for the Gays Mills Area Food Pantry. And don’t forget the fuzzy socks and long underwear, while you’re at it. It may be cold, but it’s absolutely worth it!