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St. Ignatius celebrates holiday season

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ST. IGNATIUS – On Saturday, the town was full of the holiday spirit. Families spent the day competing in Christmas games, visiting Santa Clause and the Grinch, and appreciating the huge town Christmas tree, newly lit with many-colored bulbs. 

After a mug of hot chocolate and a bowl of chili, children loaded onto a hay-filled trailer to spread cheer around town.

Children packed tightly onto the trailer with songbooks in hand, and the parade of lights kicked off. Fire trucks strung with brightly colored lights wound through the streets. Trucks carried lit Christmas displays. A school bus was packed with carolers. 

Residents of the town clustered along the streets, waving to the brightly lit parade and enjoying the carols. 

Event organizer Darren Orr said the parade and tree lighting had the best attendance the town has seen in years. 

The two caroling trailers that took folks around town to sing songs and have a bit of fun were led by JP Thomas.

“The caroling  trailers led the annual parade of lights through town and downtown to the assisted living center and back to the tree again. There were two fire trucks, which were decorated in lights, and five floats and vehicles that were all decorated. We had a school bus if people wanted to tag behind and stay warm.”

“When the parade ended, people made their way back to Gariepy Park to the tree. People who brought a non-perishable food item for the food bank were given raffle tickets. 

“After the carnival, we had the annual town tree lighting ceremony,” he said. “Hot chocolate was served with chili. We had fire pits there to help keep people warm, although it was an unusually warm evening.”

Before the parade, the St. Ignatius Community Christmas Carnival was held at the Community Center.

“We had a lot more booths this year, and we had a lot of cooperation from some newcomers to the carnival, including Early Childhood Services; the CSKT Diabetic Program; Families First; Reason to Live Native; Valley Bank; the Old Timer Café; Rod’s Harvest Foods; Stuart’s Mountain View Cenex and Day Break Deli. 

Students from the St. Ignatius school program Students Serving Community helped run booths and set up. The local Boy Scout group helped out. Individual students from the St. Ignatius school also helped.

Randi Gariepy had a face painting booth where anyone could get a holiday design. Orr said prizes were also given out.

“Kids won raffle tickets to exchange for prizes, and we had a raffle with bikes, drones, computers, an iPad and other gifts.”

“It was a great night and day in St. Ignatius to kick off the Christmas season. Thanks to the St. Ignatius Chamber of Commerce and all the local businesses and people who helped show up and plan the event and all the booths and kids. Nice to welcome back the carnival after last year’s hiatus.”

The St. Ignatius Chamber of Commerce organized the festivities. Holiday events will continue. For each of the Twelve Days of Christmas event, starting on Dec. 9, residents can receive a raffle ticket for a prize when they shop at select businesses. For a list of the businesses and the dates where they’ll be awarding raffle tickets, visit the St. Ignatius Chamber of Commerce website. A winner will be drawn on Dec. 20.

The house-decorating contest is also ongoing. Residents can enter the contest at Valley Bank. The top three best-decorated houses will get prizes.


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