Clear Lake Christmas

(Above) MBT featured the Grinch on their winning entry in the Lighted Parade.  Lake Theatre was second and B&B Entertainment was third.

by Marianne Gasaway

Christmas spirit was shining bright Saturday, as the Christmas by the Lake celebration was held.  Inclement weather forced a one week postponement of the celebration, but it did little to dampen the enthusiasm.

“It was a great day.  Everything from carriage and trolley rides, activities at the Arts Center, Smore’s, roasting chestnuts and Christmas karaoke, were all enjoyed by good crowds.  And when it came time for the lighted parade and fireworks, people came out of the woodwork,” said Gene Madson, who has chaired the event each of its 24 years.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were kept very busy greeting visitors at their City Park home.  An estimated 825 children stopped by to let the jolly old elf know their Christmas wishes first hand.  Those who didn’t talk personally with Santa over the weekend can still catch up with him each Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. prior to Christmas.

A new feature of the event, an outdoor market organized by Simply Nourished owner Ashley Coleman, was also well received and will expand for future celebrations, reported Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator Trish Funderman.

Generosity was also a big part of the event.  Donations to the local food bank filled the lobby of the Lake Theatre, as they were used as admission to free matinees Saturday and Sunday.  And Sunday’s Polar Bear Plunge raised an estimated $8,000 for Toys for Tots and Make-A-Wish.

The lighted parade drew about 35 entries this year.  Among the participants was Jason and Megan Dennis, who had just been married earlier in the day.  Months ago, the couple reserved the trolley for use following their afternoon service.  When the Christmas by the Lake date changed

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