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Christmas has arrived in PR

Santa Claus and Roger Olson, who was part of this year’s Hospice host family, enjoy holiday music at this year’s tree lighting event. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

BY Anna Erickson

A large crowd gathered downtown Friday night for the annual Park Rapids Community Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration and Yuletide Sampler.

The weather cooperated for the event and people were in good spirits as they sang Christmas carols and snacked on goodies and hot cider.

Nicole Lalum, Chamber executive director, emceed this year’s event and thanked the many volunteers who helped it come together.

The 2013 event continued the partnership with the St. Joseph’s Area Health Services Hospice “Light Up a Life” program to light the tree with bulbs honoring the memory of a friend, loved one or someone living you wish to honor.

The St. Joseph’s Hospice host family honored at this year’s Community Tree Lighting was the family of Marilyn Olson, wife of Roger Olson. Many of her children spoke at the event to honor their mother.

Chamber Board Member Pete Young of Y Steak House and Betsy Meyer of St. Joseph’s Volunteer Services are the two tireless committee leaders that organize this entire event, Lalum said. Park Rapids Chamber director Nicole Lalum thanks the volunteers who put together the downtown celebration each year. (Anna Erick

Citizen’s National Bank and Steve and Glenda Johnson donated the Community Christmas Tree in honor and memory of Ron Steele, Marlyn Avenson, Clyde and Alfrieda Johnson and Wilson Persinger.

This year’s tree was delivered by Steve and Robin Walsh of Dick Walsh Forest Products with the help of Paul Utke. Jeff Johnson and the crew from Minnesota Power, along with Ron Ahmann of R&R Rental, and Travis Little with the Park Rapids Fire Department, made sure the tree was decorated properly.

Scott Burlingame and Police Chief Terry Eilers along with the city of Park Rapids ensure that the Chamber and St. Joseph’s are able to pull this magnificent event off each year with great support, Lalum added.

The Park Rapids Community Chorale led the crowd in carols under the direction of Jason Wright.

The Yuletide Sampler in downtown area stores is a collaboration of the Downtown Business Association.

Children were invited to share their Christmas wish lists after the tree lighting. He will return to Bella Caffé from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 and 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Remember to bring your camera!

Downtown businesses were also hopping Saturday for “Small Business Saturday.”

Downtown crowd (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)Free Christmas matinees sponsored by Park Theater and local businesses will continue at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 (“Escape from Planet Earth”), Dec. 14 (“Ice Age 4: Continental Drift”), Dec. 21 (“Despicable Me”). A special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be between 2 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.

Children are asked (not required) to bring a non-perishable food item for the Hubbard County Food Shelf.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561