On Nov. 29, around 5 p.m., the Chamber of Commerce, the Noon Lions Club, Smitty's Lawn and Landscape, the Fort Dodge Fire Department, Self Supporting Municipal Improvement District, Humes Distributing, Candies and More, Fort 8 Theater, Hy-Vee, the library and many others will host the third annual Christmas Tree Lighting in the gazebo on the City Square. This is probably the most fun, the easiest and the most lighthearted event we help to host.
It begins at dusk - school is out, it's not quite dinner time, in the gloaming of the day. It's right after Thanksgiving when we've had the chance to be with family and friends, and just enjoy being together. Thanksgiving is always so special because it doesn't take too much effort - just being together with your favorite people, having meals together and being so grateful for all the blessings in our lives.
What a way to set the stage for a Christmas Tree Lighting. We are full of appreciation after Thanksgiving, and are ready for the holiday season to begin. This year's Christmas Tree Lighting is full of fun and even more activities for all:
New this year: "Winter Window Wonderland" is new this year - downtown businesses have been invited to decorate their windows, and we will choose the best window display the evening of the tree lighting.
New this year: Businesses and organizations are decorating other trees on the square, and we will have a contest for the best-decorated tree. Winners will be announced the evening of the tree lighting (city of Fort Dodge, Civitan Club, Noon Lions Club, Special Olympics, Webster County Abstract Co. and Frontier Communications).
New this year: Hayrides provided by the Community Orchard and Becker Florist will be available for everyone, and those participating in the hayrides will help judge the "Winter Window Wonderland" windows.
Here's the schedule
5 p.m. - Christmas Carols sung by Fort Dodge Senior High, crafts begin in the library, hot chocolate, cider and cookies are served.
5:15 p.m. - Mayor Matt Bemrich provides a welcome, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive, tree is lighted.
5:30 p.m. - Santa begins his visits with children, hayrides begin, St. Edmond Choir.
6:15 p.m. - Window Wonderland Winners announced at the gazebo.
New this year: Christmas cards with a vintage photo of downtown Fort Dodge in 1946 will be on sale.
New this year: Ryan Paschke from Fort Dodge Web will photograph the children with Santa - each family will be given one free photo with Santa.
Back by popular demand:
The Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond choirs will perform Christmas carols in the Gazebo.
A live radio broadcast, helping us to tell Santa that we're lighting a special tree on the City Square.
The Fort Dodge Public Library will have craft activities for children
Santa will arrive in a fire truck and will visit with all the children who are there.
The library will have crafts and activities, helped by FDSH and St. Edmond cheerleaders
Fort 8 Movie Theater will donate tickets to the movie "Hotel for Dogs" which will be shown on Dec. 4, at 10 a.m. to the first 200 people.
There will be free hot chocolate, hot cider and cookies for everyone. Cookies are provided by Candies and More, Iowa Central's Culinary Program, Larita's, Hy-Vee, Community Orchard.
This event is completely free and open to everyone. Please join us. Stop by after work, after school - bring your children, your family, your co-workers, your friends and share some of the magic of a simple holiday celebration.
Amy Bruno is executive director of the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce.