It’s Christmas Time In New England!

The Hometown Holidays has been a tradition in New England for a number of years, as the annual event features a day of fun for all ages that includes a delicious meal, shopping, and even a visit from Santa Claus.

Anna Eisenbarth tells Santa what she wants for Christmas. (Photo by Rachel Bock/For The Herald)

By RACHEL BOCK
For The Herald

The Hometown Holidays has been a tradition in New England for a number of years, as the annual event features a day of fun for all ages that includes a delicious meal, shopping, and even a visit from Santa Claus.

The festivities started off on Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Memorial Hall with a meal that was provided and served by the New England High School Choir Students. The meal was a free-will donation to help raise money for the choir student’s upcoming choir trip in the summer of 2018.

To help with Christmas shopping, 14 vendors took part in the vendor show that was held upstairs at the Memorial Hall. The craft and commercial vendors showcased items from homemade crosses, jewelry, Christmas items, and other various items were available for purchase. The New England Library also sold Christmas treats throughout the day to raise money for the library.

New this year was a Christmas Tree decorating contest among area organizations. The groups came on Friday and Saturday to decorate a tree, and spectators on Sunday voted during the event for best decorated tree. First place went to the New England Cub Scout troop, second place went to the New England High School Cheerleaders, third place went to Hettinger County 4-H Club, and fourth place went to Slope County 4-H Club.

The event wasn’t just for the adults, as there were plenty of fun activities for the kids to participate in while moms and dads shopped and visited. The New England Cub Scouts had games available for the kids to play and win prizes. There was also a kids shopping store for children to pick out and buy items for their parents, grandparents, or whoever was on their shopping list. There was also a Santa Letter Station where the kids could sit down and write a letter to Santa and the letters were placed in a mailbox so the letters could be mailed to Santa Claus.

Santa Claus took time out of his busy schedule to stop by and take pictures with the children and hear about what they would like for Christmas. The event ended with a traditional hayride and caroling around New England.

For the past three years Hometown Holidays has been organized by Laurie Monke and Jodi Olsonawski. Each year the duo has brought new ideas to the annual event, and are already looking at additions for next year’s event.

The planning duo would like to thank the community for attending the event and making it a fun day, along with everyone who helps make the event a success from the workers that help during Hometown Holidays to the businesses who donate money so that the annual event can be held every year.

“It is fun to put on, and I enjoy doing it. It is nice to see people support the event, and watching the kids have fun,” Monke said. “It is just a fun day for people to get out, socialize, and the kids can run around and be kids, and parents can visit and shop. It is just a good day.”

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