Christmas Stroll was a blast of fun

33_santa1655CHECKING IT TWICE  — Santa makes sure he is paying attention as this little lady reads off her wish list at Stockman Bank during the Christmas Stroll on Saturday. Watch for more Santa pictures in our Christmas edition, Dec. 16, and in the week following.  I-O Photo by Deanna Wakkinen

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

Saturday was a super day to throw a party and that’s just what the Chamber of Commerce did with their annual Christmas Stroll.

Last year it was bitter cold with howling winds and a number of events had to go by the wayside when, if you recall, the temperature rolled off the table and went to 19 degrees below zero, and with howling winds and snow, some folks even got stuck in town.

That was then. This year it was just cold and outdoor events and attractions like the horse drawn wagon rides and the Cardboard parade went on.

Vendors were in three different locations, Joe’s Family Steakhouse, The Lobby and Village Shopping Center with a variety of items for Christmas shoppers to view.

The horse drawn wagon rides up and down Main Street are always a popular attraction and the wagon was full of riders.

In the afternoon the Meadowlark gym was bustling with activity as the CHS sophomore class sponsored a Kiddy Carnival, giving the younger set an alternative to the cold weather outside.

Creative Addictions, a new business on Main St., opened their doors and saw a steady stream of folks. The Home Café, for a food donation for the local Food Pantry, was serving up chili and cinnamon rolls.

In the afternoon and into the early evening, a favorite gathering place was in front of Pure Bliss Cycle where Lion Club members were cooking up their famous Whoop-Up burgers with grilled onions.

To help fight the cold, they also had a few fire barrels that folks huddled around as they downed a hot hamburger. Really, it doesn’t get too much better than this.

Students from the Conrad Christian School (CCS) put together a float for the Cardboard parade and some others walked the route made up as presents.

As the temperature began to dip, folks gathered in front of the courthouse for the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree by Hayden Dugan and Santa Claus.

Pastor Michael Sculley from the Pondera Valley Lutheran Church gave a Christmas prayer and students from CCS sang carols.

Action picked up as the CofC Christmas Tree and Wreath auction started at the Moose Lodge.

Last year, despite the bitter cold, the auction of trees brought in $5,795. This year, 12 trees were auctioned off for $8,700 and 11 wreaths for $1,865.

Trees were decorated by the PMC, Kronebusch Electric/Gerald Miller Farms, ITB, 4U Collision, Cowboy Designs, there was a Charlie Brown tree, T&K Auto, IGA, First Liberty, A Shear Happiness, Wells Fargo and Conrad Tire-Olson’s Drug-Courtesy Ford-Conrad Building Center.

The latter tree will be displayed in the showroom at Courtesy Ford for the Christmas season and matching funds from the four businesses above will go to the Community Cancer Foundation.

Jerry Philipps purchased a tree from A Shear Happiness and donated the hair care products from under the tree back and they were auctioned off for $450.

Wreaths were decorated by the Farm Bureau, 3 Rivers Communication, Big Sky Equipment, Rocky Mountain Riders Club, Pure Bliss Cycle, 4U Collision, Front Line Ag, Chary Majerus Framing, Marias Greenhouse/Knobel Grooming, Studio 315 and Jathco/Radio Shack.

Proceeds from the auction go to the Main St. decorations fund. The Conrad Tavern Association donated $250 to that fund and Lyle Orcutt won the 50-50 drawing.

Gary and Leo’s IGA provided a smorgasbord of super finger food for the evening festivity.