by Nathan Warner
Celebrate the Season lit Zimmerman up on Saturday with sleigh rides, prizes, a Christmas tree-lighting, business specials and much more.
Organized and sponsored by the Greater Zimmerman Area Chamber of Commerce, this year’s festival was one of the busiest and most energized ever, according to chamber officials.
The celebration fired up around 9 a.m. with Art Reflection’s portraits with Santa, which drew lines of parents and their children stretching far outside the door of the store.
On the other side of town, children of all ages bundled up at the Elf Station in Nelson Nursery to make 168 candy-filled Christmas “poppers” at tables surrounded by dazzling seasonal displays and bright festival lights.
At the American Legion, Kristina Packer eagerly painted faces with her mother, Sheri Packer, and friends Heather Singleton and Sophia Wilson during her fundraiser for Hillside HOPE Thru Hooves, an equine assisted psychotherapy and alternative learning program for youth and adults located in St. Michael.
“I’m hoping the donations today will help me reach my goal of $500 by December 31,” she said, adding that the money was to raise matching funds for Hillside HOPE to build an indoor arena.
Horses were also a hot topic at Johnson’s Hardware Hank, where 10-minute sleigh rides drew eager crowds that waited patiently in front of the store for their turn on the open sleigh.
Steve and Cathy Wood of Wild Wood Sleigh and Carriage led the rides that were drawn around the block by two Morgan horses.
Just down the street, children of all ages made colorful magnets with their friends and family from a pile of glass and ceramic shards at Orange Caterpillar Art Studio.
Owner Robin Carlson said everyone had a blast, adding, “The magnets that these young artists created were just incredible!”
As dusk crept into town, Bill Potrament of the Zimmerman Civic Club officiated the lighting of the Christmas tree at the corner of Fremont Avenue and Second Street, where he also announced the winners of the Greater Zimmerman Area Chamber of Commerce contests that had taken place throughout the day.
Of an estimated 600 slips that were entered in the drawing for chamber prizes, Kathy Sternquist was the winner of the Grand Casino package while Deanna Austin snagged the Princeton AmericInn weekend package.
There were more than 56 correct answers in the Zimmerman Civic Club-sponsored Word Scramble drawing. Wade Frederickson walked away with the $200 prize.
“It was a great event,” said Tracie Wivoda, committee chair of the Greater Zimmerman Area Chamber of Commerce. “It couldn’t have happened without the joint forces of nearly all businesses in Zimmerman, the volunteer help and ideas from the planning committee members, Bill Potrament and the Zimmerman Civic Club’s involvement this year, and the sponsorships that were received.”
Potrament summed it up, saying, “People were in town and shopping local, which is the perfect reason for all of us to ‘Celebrate the Season’!”