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St. Ignatius prepares for Christmas Carnival

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ST. IGNATIUS — St. Ignatius will be welcoming back its Christmas Carnival the first Saturday in December at 2 p.m. in the new high school gym. 

Put on by the Chamber of Commerce and technically started back in 2003, the town used to put on raffles with the number of tickets dependent on the amount spent by individuals. When this proved too uneven, organizers got together and came up with a carnival that is more geared towards kids. 

“It gives the kids a safe place to go. They can play games, have cakewalks, face painting, crafts, and different booths where they can win (raffle tickets),” explained organizer Darren Orr. Kids can take those tickets to boxes all over the venue for different prizes, a more efficient option than the prize booth of years past. And after nearly 20 years - minus one year off for COVID - the carnival sees 150 to 200 kids each year. 

With booths run by local businesses and a visit from the Grinch, the carnival will end with raffles for both kids and parents before the parade of lights and the lighting of the town Christmas tree kicks off at around 5:30 p.m. This year there will be business, house, and door decorating contests that people can sign up for to win cash prizes as well. Sign-ups are available at Valley Bank until Dec. 16, and judging will take place on Dec. 17. 

Additionally, thanks to the generosity of the community, last year’s carnival was the first ever that each kid who showed up to see Santa got a Christmas present from Kris Kringle right then and there. Orr explained, this year, with the community and businesses throughout the valley donating money and toys alike, they’ll be able to do it again.

“We raised enough in donations to do (presents from Santa), and it was amazing,” Orr said. “Some kids don’t get anything for Christmas (otherwise) … The kids’ faces make it worthwhile.” 

Those interested in donating can contact the St. Ignatius Valley Bank at 406-745-3123 to contribute donations straight to the Chamber’s account. Any money or prizes left over from the carnival will go towards the town Easter egg hunt and prize baskets in 2023 to ensure all the funds stay in the community. 

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