Light parade, tree-lighting ceremony return to highlight sixth annual ‘Small Town Christmas’
by Beth Kraft
The “Small Town Christmas” electric light parade will hit the streets of Mondovi for the sixth-straight year this Saturday, Dec. 5, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Sponsored by the Mondovi Women’s Business Network, the event is now a firm holiday tradition in Mondovi as area residents make a point to head to Eau Claire Street to view the mobile holiday light show that includes float entries by families, businesses, clubs and other organizations.
A tree-lighting ceremony was new to last year’s “Small Town Christmas” festivities, but vandals nearly forced the lighting of the giant Christmas tree to be a one-and-done deal.
Located on the empty lot next to Mondovi Hardware on S. Eau Claire St., a giant 20-foot evergreen was donated to the city last year. The tree was decorated for the tree-lighting ceremony and complimented the new holiday lights downtown, but it didn’t quite make it to Christmas.
Vandals broke the tree itself in half and damaged light strings and other decorations that Mondovi Hardware’s Sara Erickson had purchased with her own money. Damage was estimated at over $125.
Disgusted, Erickson swore she wouldn’t again pursue obtaining a large Christmas tree for the lot, but over the course of the year she had a change of heart that changed her mind on the subject.
“They talked me into it,” Erickson said of her fellow MWBN members with a grin. “So we’re attempting it again.”
They are actually already on their second tree this year after the first one blew down in a windstorm a few weeks ago, breaking multiple branches.
The current 20-foot tree was donated by Gary Stanton, set into place and decorated by Mondovi Hardware staff and Bill Stanton, who provided the use of a boom truck, on Sunday, Nov. 29.
This year’s tree comes with some extra security in hopes of deterring any holiday hackers. The evergreen is firmly anchored to both buildings with aircraft cables, Erickson said.
The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. just prior to the parade. Mondovi Mayor Treig Pronschinske will once again have the honor of throwing the switch.
Also that day, Santa Claus is slated to make an appearance at the Roger Marten Community Center for pictures from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. during “Santa Saturday,” an annual event sponsored by the Mondovi Business Association. Cookies and juice will also be served, and goodie bags will be given out by the Mondovi Area Gobblers.
The holiday light parade will continue to show off the ongoing efforts of the MWBN to purchase new Christmas decorations for downtown Mondovi. Large snowflakes now grace the four-corners area in addition to other snowflake lights and holiday-themed lights that were refurbished to give them new life.
The group plans to soon purchase more Christmas decorations, said MWBN member Brenda Stanford, likely in the form of banners and additional lights.
Last year’s parade again drew 40 floats to the line-up. All are welcome to create a float to enter into the parade for the chance to win first, second and third place prizes awarded by the MWBN.
“We’re urging people to call and register their floats,” said Stanford.
The MWBN is also looking for Christmas carolers to help boost holiday spirit during the festivities downtown that evening. The Mondovi Ambulance Service will also conduct a bake sale with hot chocolate.
The parade will begin at the Mondovi Fire Station and proceed north on Eau Claire St. toward Mirror Lake Park.
Entries will still be accepted the day of the parade. Those interested in signing up should contact Brenda Stanford at Shear Trends at (715) 926-4222 or at (715) 577-9247.