Milton-Freewater aims to grow into its wreath of Christmas traditions.
The small northeastern Oregon town boasts an annual Christmas parade, a neighborhood with a synchronized light show and an open house at the historic Frazier Farmstead Museum. And last year more than 20 vendors participated in the first North Main Street Magic Crawl.
Jennifer Konrad is the new executive director of the Milton-Freewater Area Chamber of Commerce. She said this year’s crawl is Dec. 14, 5-8 p.m. and includes most of the businesses on North Main as well as 15-plus other vendors.
Businesses from the long-established Saager’s Shoe Shop to the burgeoning Arts Portal Gallery to the increasingly popular Fringe Salon & Boutique are participating. Konrad said the vendors will be inside downtown shops, and treats such as hot cider and coffee will be available.
She said the crawl provides publicity for local businesses while offering an array of goods for Christmas shoppers. The town offers up plenty more holiday happenings almost to the end of December.
Neighboring towns churn out their share of Christmas cheer as well.
The Athena Holiday Bazaar is Saturday, Dec. 2, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. at the Athena Elementary School, 375 S. Fifth St. Organizer Katie Vorhauer Zmuda said the event has more than 50 vendors and will fill the whole school. Fellow organizer April McKenna said they are full and cannot accept any more applications.
This is the bazaar’s eighth year and the third at the school. McKenna said the first year drew 25 merchants. Zmuda said the school provides more space and is handicapped accessible. She added the event has become so popular they no longer have to advertise for vendors.
Helix’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony is Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. Organizer Cindy Wood said the event draws as many as 50 town locals, depending on the weather. To ease the chill, there’s free soup starting at 4:30 p.m.
The tree lighting coincides with the opening of high school basketball season. The ceremony has an invocation, Christmas carols and free cookies after the lights turn on.
“It’s quite lovely,” Wood said.
The Weston Chamber of Commerce sponsors an annual Christmas lighting contest that culminates with a community party the eventing of Dec. 15 Chamber president Tim Crampton said they load a trailer with bales of hay and hook that to a snowmobile.
“We drive around town and look at all the Christmas lights,” he said, and afterward folks meet at the city’s Memorial Hall for hot cider, hot chocolate and cookies. And if enough folks come, he said he would be more than happy to hook up two trailers.
Crampton added the night usually includes a children’s Christmas party, but those details have yet to be worked out.