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Boscobel Community Christmas Festival kicks off this weekend
Cmaber Xmas for web
Santa and Mrs. Klaus, 2014

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and two of their reindeer will visit Boscobel on Saturday, December 5.

Children wishing to sit in Santa’s lap and share their hopes for the holidays can visit the Blaine Gym from 1 until 3:30 p.m.

The reindeer will be located nearby on East Oak Street between 2 and 4 p.m.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s visit is the center point to the Boscobel Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to help you have a very merry Christmas this year!

Starting the weekend after Thanksgiving, the Chamber is offering free giftwrapping. Volunteer wrappers will man the giftwrapping station at the Boscobel Depot on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 29 from 1-5 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday Dec. 20 from 1-3 p.m.

This is a new Christmas endeavor for the Chamber, which hopes community members will find useful.

“Free will donations will be accepted, but that should not stop anyone from using the service,” says Chamber Treasurer Barb O’Kane. “This is free and we are there to help people and make the season just a little easier!”

The Chamber’s annual Boscobel Community Christmas Festival runs from December 4 through December 13.

The festival kicks off on Friday, Dec. 4 with the second annual Memory Tree Lighting and Program at 6 p.m. in the front lawn of the Depot. The names and dedications will be read, the tree lit, and the high school choir will perform a few selections.

Lights are $5 each. Each one will be dedicated as the purchaser desires. It makes a lovely way to say thank you to the person or organization that has helped out, or to recognize a birth, service, memorial, and more.

The Memory Tree will raise funds for both the GAR Hall and the Boscobel Fire Department, while allowing community members to commemorate what is important in their lives.

Forms for purchasing lights are available at the Boscobel Dial, the Boscobel Public Library, the hospital, and local banks.

Ugly Sweater walk/run

Things get much busier the following day, starting with the Fourth Annual Ugly Sweater 5K & 1 Mile Run/Walk on Dec. 5.

Don the sweater you swore you would never wear and hit the pavement for a good cause! Funds from the race go to the Boscobel Slide Pride effort to help purchase and install a slide at the Boscobel Pool this spring.

Registration gets underway at 7 a.m. at the BMZ Church, with the race beginning at 8 a.m. Registration is $15 per person or $40 per family. Clark Jillson of AccuRace will be on hand to track times for participants.

New to the festival is the cookie decorating event! Beginning at 10:30 at the VFW Club and continuing until 3:30 p.m, this free event is for anyone of any age! Sponsored by Violet Dreams bakery, you can come and decorate your own sugar cookies.

There will be coffee, punch and popcorn available for free and BBQ for sale.

Kids activities start at 11 a.m. at the Tuffley Center. Sponsored by Big Green Clover 4-H, volunteers will be on hand to help with ornament making, while offering face painting, a coloring table, and other activities until 3 p.m. Food will be available.

Free movies

The first of three free movies will be shown at the Blaine Theatre that day from 12-noon until 3 p.m. The first showing is a medley of traditional Christmas shorts, such as Frosty the Snowman. Additional showings of full-length Christmas features will be held on Saturdays, Dec. 12 and 19 at 1 p.m.

The Chamber asks attendees for a free will donation of a non-perishable food item for admission to help stock the Boscobel Food Pantry.

Another new activity begins at 1 p.m. Ten-minute horse and wagon rides begin at the Boscobel Depot and take you on a mini-tour of Boscobel. Rides run from 1 to 4 p.m.

After your ride, skip heading home to cook supper. Head over to the Boscobel Fire and Rescue Building to warm up with a bowl of chili or soup!

This is an all-you-can eat affair that costs only $5 per person, ages six and up. Ages five and under are free.

There will be a hat and mitten drive being held at the fire department during the supper. All donations collected will go to students at Boscobel Area School District.

The fire department is located just north of downtown at 510 Wisconsin Avenue.

Parade of Lights

Capping off the day is the Parade of Lights. The theme this year is “We’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

Everyone is encouraged to let their imagination run wild and come with their own light adorned entry!

Line-up begins at 4:30 and the parade at 5 p.m.

The parade begins at Bluff Street, kitty-corner from the hospital, traverses up Walnut Street, turns onto Parker Street then onto Wisconsin Avenue and marches to the Boscobel Fire Department. It then turns right onto Kansas Street and proceeds to the ice rink.

Entries will be judged for originality, best use of lights, use of the parade theme, and overall Best in Show!

There are three longer running events associated with the Chamber’s festival.

Opening on Dec. 5 and running through the 13th is the Festival of Trees.

This tradition of 27 years allows community members – individuals, business, and organizations – to decorate an artificial tree to be placed on display at the Boscobel Antique Club grounds. The Festival of Trees also features an outdoor ‘Winter Wonderland’ display.

The trees and outdoor displays will be open to visitors on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 2-8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 6 from 3-6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, Dec. 10-11 from 5:30-7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 12 from 5:30-8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 13 from 2-6 p.m.

The Festival of Trees theme is the same as the parade, “We’ll Be Home For Christmas.” Only artificial trees may be used. Set up for interested participants is Nov. 29 through Dec. 4 and needs to be scheduled ahead of time by calling the Boscobel Chamber of Commerce.

As with other elements of the Boscobel Community Christmas Festival, donations are sought to assist the Boscobel Food Pantry.

During the Festival of Trees, a silent auction will be held. Baskets and gift certificates will be available for bidding through the 13th.

The last ongoing event is new this year, as well. The Community Business and House Decorating contest will accept entries through Dec. 14 with winners announced on the 16th.

Break out those lights and move over Clark Griswold. There will be some decorating going on!

The contest is open to any business or resident of the Boscobel Area School District. Winners will receive Bosco Bucks that can be spent at any Boscobel Chamber of Commerce member business. There will be a $200 Bosco Buck overall winner, $100 Bosco Buck business and residential runner-up winners, plus  $75, $50, and $25 Bosco Buck winners.

If you have questions, contact:

Memory Tree: Patsy Pippin at 608-375-2474;

5K-1 Mile Run/Walk: Angie O’Brien at 608-778-1987 or Holly Jillson at 608-375-5717;

Silent Auction: to donate a basket or for questions: Ramona Ford at 375-4655 or Mary Wilson at 608-485-2221; and

Festival of Trees and general questions: Boscobel Chamber of Commerce: 375-2672.