The Christmas spirit was alive and well Saturday, Dec. 5 as a Down Home Christmas took place in the Village of Bethel. It began with a sell-out crowd for a breakfast with Santa at Bethel Tate High School.
According to organizer, Judi Adams, it was the best ever Bethel Down Home Christmas.
“What fun! We had the longest parade ever, the largest turnout ever for the Kids Fest and the most generous business donations for a grand prize valued at $1,800,” said Adams.
Shops participated in a window decorating contest with winners selected in two categories; age 12 and under, first place winner was Frisch's decorated by the American Heritage Girls fifth and sixth graders. Second place went to Skyline Chili decorated by American Heritage Girls third graders and Cub Scout Den 9. In the age 13 and up category, Bethel Tire took first place with windows decorated by Girl Scout Troop 48597 seventh graders and Bethel Municipal Building took second place with decorated windows by the Bethel Tate High School art class.
The Grassy Run Rendevous folks were set up at the cabins in Burke Park to share homemade soup and coffee with those who stopped by their wood fire to warm their hands. The blacksmith kept his fire going to demonstrate a lost art of making horse shoes.
The library played host to those who chose to construct gingerbread houses and St. Mary Parish Center had lots of games, crafts and prizes for kids.
Bethel Police Chief Mark Planck not only worked on the parade detail but was on the planning committee for the event.
"It was the best ever Down Home Christmas," said Planck. "The Kid's Fest was well attended and the parade was awesome. There were more entries this year than ever before and everything went very well."
One of the highlights of the day was the parade down Plane Street which included floats from area churches, organizations and businesses, dogs, horses and plenty of candy tossed to children along the route.
Parade winners include: Most creative, first place, St. Mary Church, second place, Kanga Roof; Most entertaining, first place, From Scratch Restaurant and Catering, second place, Le Mutt and Most Christmas spirit, first place, Saltair Church of Christ and second place, Bethel Building and Loan.
Several businesses announced prize winners. Colby Saylor won the 32 inch flat screen tv from Bethel Building and Loan. Rhonda Miller won a portable DVD player from Ice Cream Etc. Village Hardware winner of a Case knife was Travis Baudendistel and the Cox IGA fruit basket was won by Connie Eubanks.
The American Legion Post 406 collected non-perishable food items for distribution to local families in need during the holiday season.
The festivities ended with the Bethel Community Choir performing a Christmas musical on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. According to Bethel United Methodist Pastor Bill Bowdle, more than 900 people attended the performances.