You might have been able to tell by the sudden onset of Christmas songs on the radio, the sudden urge to shop, or by your refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers, but the 2011 holiday season is upon us.
This week towns around Madison County will kick off the holidays with their traditional Christmas Stroll events.
The Christmas Stroll is truly a celebration of small town America, said Heather Puckett, stroll organizer with the Twin Bridges Community Association.
“Last year ours could not have been more Rockwellian,” Puckett said.
Last year the snow started falling just about the time the community Christmas tree was lit. The scene was perfect – big, fluffy snowflakes, a fresh Christmas tree, food, friends and Christmas carols.
“It’s just this kind of community kick-off to the Christmas season,” Puckett said.
The strolls are also a time for people to catch up with friends, said Macel Anderson, owner of Booze & Buns and member of the Sheridan Main Street Improvement Team, which puts on Sheridan’s stroll each year.
The summer events are often filled with tourists and visitors, while many of the local farmers and ranchers are busy working, Anderson said.
But with the Christmas stroll, many folks who have been busy all summer and fall get a chance to come to town and socialize.
“In Sheridan it’s like a big social thing,” she said. “Everybody is out on the street visiting sharing stories standing around the fire pits getting warm.”
In Ennis, the Christmas Stroll is a tradition that’s important to a lot of local children and families, said Hillary Block, owner of West of the Madison and board member of the Ennis Chamber of Commerce. Block helps organize the stroll, which is sponsored by the chamber of commerce.
“I think people enjoy it because it’s a bit nostalgic,” Block said. “One of the really nice things about the stroll is most of the events are free because the local chamber of commerce and the businesses are sponsoring these activities.”
One common thread with all the strolls is that businesses in each community will be open late with a variety of specials.
The Twin Bridges Christmas Stroll will be held Dec. 1 and starts at 4 p.m. with business open houses, Puckett said.
At 6 p.m. the Rotary Club will serve a stew and biscuit dinner at the city park. At the same time kids games will be held at the park and the Christmas tree will be lit at 6:30.
Also starting at 4 p.m., pictures with Santa Claus will be taken at Main Street Market and the public library will have Christmas story time.
In Sheridan, the Christmas Stroll will be Dec. 2 and run from 5 to 8 p.m.
Santa Claus and the Super Star 4-H Club will be at the Prospector Restaurant from 5 to 7 p.m.
Other events will include a craft show at Bethany Hall, a winter art contest for local school children, horse-drawn hayrides, and music at three locations: Ruby Valley National Bank, Headlines and Alamo Aviation.
The Sheridan Post Office will hold a special drawing for 100 stamps. A children’s scavenger hunt will be held as well. Entry forms for the scavenger hunt can be found at the Prospector, Serendipity or Booze & Buns. Adults will be able to play a travelling scrabble game during the stroll. For more information, call Anderson at 842-5790.
In Ennis, the Christmas Stroll will have events throughout the day Dec. 2. The first big event will be a fundraising lunch at Ennis True Value and Radio Shack. The $1 lunch will start at 11:30 and go to 1:30 and feature hot dogs, chips and soda. All proceeds will go toward the Madison Valley Caring and Sharing food bank in Ennis.
Up and down Main Street, businesses will have store specials and goodies to eat and drink, Block said.
Special events include: letters to Santa at The Flower Shed, stories at the Madison Valley Public Library, Mary Kay open house at Right Angles, ski swap for Madison Valley Ski Club at the Gravel Bar, local arts show and sale, photos with Santa at the Ennis Pharmacy and Yesterday’s Restaurant, cookie decorating at the Ennis Art Institute, hayrides, book signing at the Blue Heron, fun photo booth at Shanna Mae Photography, lighting of the Ennis Lions Club Park, jewelry show and Christmas ornaments at the Depot Gallery, a live nativity scene from the Madison Wranglers 4-H Club, a wreath auction for the Madison Valley Aquatic Center, a movie at Madison Theater and music at First Madison Valley Bank.
Also on Friday, the Elling House Arts and Humanities Center will have a dramatic reading of Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” that will begin at 7 p.m. For tickets and information, call Toni James at 843-5454 or 843-5508.