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Parade of Lights to kick off Christmas season

Posted 11/25/15 (Wed)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

Who knew the month would fly by so fast and Thanksgiving would be upon us already? It never ceases to amaze me how the holidays seem so far away and then bam! They sneak right up on you. But the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce and area Chamber businesses and organizations are ready to help welcome and kick off this year’s holiday season.
According to Mary Gumke, Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce coordinator, Santa Clause will be making a special ‘fly-over’ appearance during the kickoff to the holiday season in the Parade of Lights. Santa will also be available for pictures with the kids right after the parade. Parents can bring their children to the Watford City Fire Hall until 8:30 p.m. on Friday night.
“Santa will be on a truck in the Parade of Lights like last year,” said Gumke. “And then kids can get their pictures with Santa at the Fire Hall immediately following the parade until 8:30 p.m.”
Before the Parade of Lights kicks off, there will be a live nativity scene located in the empty lot on Main Street, hosted by the Epiphany Catholic Church. This will be their second year hosting the live nativity scene, which will start at 5:30 p.m.
This year’s Parade of Lights will feature over 20 floats from local businesses and organizations. Anyone wishing to have a float in the parade that has not spoken with the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce should email the Chamber at wcchamber@ruggedwest.com. And the light parade is not only just for Chamber members. It is open to any group or organization that would like to have a float or participate in some way.
“We love the Parade of Lights,” Gumke said. “We currently have about 20 floats, but I’m sure we’ll get more.”
The parade will take place on the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, on Main Street in Watford City starting at 6:30 p.m.
“We would very much like to have you join us for the fun and entertainment,” stated a Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce representative. “We have chosen ‘Put a Jingle in Your Step’ as our theme this year. Decorate your float based on your favorite Christmas song. Let’s fill the street with lights and music!”
In addition to the parade, the Chamber of Commerce is also offering area residents another chance to donate to the McKenzie County Food Pantry.
On Friday, Nov. 27, starting at 5:30 p.m., the Chamber of Commerce will be holding a food drive in the empty lot located on Main Street. They will be collecting food to fill the Food Pantry for the upcoming month. They invite interested persons to bring a non-perishable/unexpired food item or health and beauty product to the Chamber trailer on Main Street before and during the Parade of Lights and receive a ticket.
When the parade is over, the Chamber will be drawing 10 tickets. The winning ticketholder will get $100 in Watford City Bucks. Watford City Bucks, according to Gumke, can be used at any Watford City Chamber business. If people forget to bring an item to donate, they can still buy a ticket for $1. The money will be used to buy goods for the Food Pantry.
“For a chance to win $100, bring a canned food item,” said Gumke. “Not only does the Food Pantry benefit, the customers and the local businesses do too. Anything we do, we are always trying to promote local businesses. It brings commerce to our local community. We will also be donating turkeys for the food baskets that’ll be given away by the Food Pantry for their December food distribution.”
The following Saturday, Nov. 28, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Santa will be  in the gallery of the First International Bank & Trust, where he will be visiting with children and posing for pictures. And Saturday at 11 a.m., the Chamber has set up a free viewing of a kid-friendly movie.
“I can’t say just yet what the movie is going to be, but it will be a fun, kid-friendly movie,” stated Gumke. “The one showing will be free for children 12 years of age and younger. Parents are always welcome to come, but they will have to pay for their tickets. Parents need to know that seating is limited and free tickets will only be offered for the number of available seats.”
Starting Tuesday, Dec. 1, and taking place every Tuesday until Dec. 22, Watford City shoppers can sign up at the various Chamber businesses for a chance to win $250 in Watford City Bucks.
Then starting Thursday, Dec. 10, Gumke urges everyone to be sure to wish everyone you see a “Merry Christmas” because if you are the first person to wish “Merry Christmas” to the Secret Elf of the Day, you will win $25 in Watford City Bucks.
And according to Gumke, Watford City Bucks are spent the same as cash at any Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce business. She also says that Zero Percent Interest Christmas Loans, up to $1,000 for anyone that qualifies, will be available to area residents at both Dakota West Credit Union and First International Bank & Trust. The loans will be available through Dec. 11, and the loans, which are in the form of Watford City Dollars, can be used at any Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce merchant until Dec. 31.
Gumke would also like to remind area residents to check with their favorite Chamber businesses and stores for their extended holiday shopping hours through the season.