Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One of My Favorite Things

Even though I didn't grow up in the town that we live in now, my grandparents (my dad's parents) have lived here for years. Most of my young childhood memories of Christmas with the Stewart's involve driving several hours to the small town my grandparents lived in at the time. One year, my uncle was Santa at a local mall and he borrowed the suit to come to our family Christmas. I was old enough that I didn't believe & knew who he was, but my brother &cousins didn't know any better. That's one of my favorite Christmas memories,,. anyway, back to the original story...at some point, my grandparents moved several hours closer to the town that we live in now. So, from that point on, I remember driving to their house to celebrate Christmas &driving by the courthouse that was brightly decorated for Christmas.

Largest Decorated Man-Made Christmas Tree in Iowa Newton
(Not my picture...obviously)

It is gaudy, it is awful & it is one of my favorite parts of living here. I don't think there is a cross there anymore, but there are still neon lights above each door that say "Merry Christmas".

A few years ago, there was talk of not being able to light the courthouse due to lack of funds, but people from the community stepped up and donated so that the tradition could continue on. It's pretty neat that the community cares enough to keep it going.

Every year, the evening after Thanksgiving, they light the courthouse and have a lit parade just after. There are food vendors and a chili cook-off. This is our fourth year living here, but this is the first year we've made it to the lighting. It was so much fun & made me love the lit courthouse even more. 

We got there early, in time to catch some chili before they ran out. We ran in to a few people we knew and then we decided to buy tickets to go on a horse-drawn carriage (or wagon in our case) ride. They were supposed to be doing rides from 5:00-5:45, stop for the parade, and then continue afterwards. As we stood in line, I realized that we were getting closer &closer to 5:45. By the time we got to the front of the line, it was 5:50. I was starting to get bummed that we may have stood in line for so long and then need to get out to watch the parade and lose our spot. Luckily, we got in the wagon just in time. As the driver pulled away from the curb, he looked over his shoulder and said, "So, it's time for me to line up for the parade, so you all get to be in it!" 

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see them light the courthouse or see much of the parade, but we did get to be in it, which was a treat. I was super glad that I'd decided to shower and clean up after all the late night shopping I'd done the night before!

Waiting for the wagon to get going.

I love the squinty face, but would like some normal pictures sometime!
Bennett was mesmerized by the lights.

Bennett waved to everyone for nearly the whole parade. When he wasn't waving, he was dancing!

After the parade they had "Group Karaoke". Basically, they set up a karaoke machine and everyone gathered around it to sing together &they passed around the mic. Pretty much the best thing ever.

Annnnnd then this happened....

Ah-mazing. It's things like these that are going to make me miss living here a lot once we move.

1 comment:

  1. Altoona is still a small-enough town :) Bennett looks really cute in his hat.