Christmas Programs Spread Holiday Cheer

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
The Christmas spirit was alive in Warsaw this past weekend as thousands of people lined Main Street for the Christmas parade and other fun activities.
    The weekend activities started with a sellout chili and soup dinner sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus at the Warsaw Community Building.
“We sold advance tickets so we would know how much food to prepare, but we ran out of soup and chili,” said Warsaw Parks and Recreation Director Susan Cooner.  “The Equity Bank sponsored our commemorative Christmas mugs which we gave out at the chili/soup dinner, but we ran out of those very early.”
 Then on Saturday, Breakfast with Santa was also a sell-out.  “We planned for 150 but somehow we managed to feed 170,” Cooner said.
  Of the many beautifully decorated Christmas trees in the Community Building, the American Legion tree was picked as the winner with their Patriotic themed tree.  The winning tree was selected by penny votes and the prize amounted to $700.
Children were able to visit with Santa at the Community Building on Saturday.  “It was definitely a packed house for Santa,” said Cooner.
 The Warsaw Community Cantata was held in the Community Building on Saturday with a huge crowd.  “All the chairs on the gym floor were full with many people sitting on the bleachers,” Cooner said.  “We had very positive feedback on having the Cantata in the Community Building. The talent of this community is amazing.”
After the Cantata, people strolled up to Main Street to watch the Christmas parade.  Chamber of Commerce Director Mac Vorce estimated a thousand people lined the street for the parade, which included 33 floats, vehicles and the WHS Marching Band.  “I was so happy to have the WHS Band,” Vorce said.  “You just can’t have a parade without a band.”
People lined up for the horse drawn hayrides until almost 9 PM. Downtown merchants were also open late to accommodate all the Christmas visitors.
 “It was wonderful how everyone worked together for a common goal,” said Conner.  “Several merchants told me that they had a steady flow of customers all day Saturday but the parade brought in even more business.”
Cooner mentioned that Benton County Tourism, Benton County Human Service Council, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus, the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce and the Warsaw Parks and Recreation department all worked together to pull off the expanded Christmas celebration.
 Plans are already underway for next year’s celebration which will remain the second weekend in December.  “We are so excited about the turnout this year that we are planning for more people next year so we won’t run out of food,” Cooner said.
Vorce mentioned that he was pleased with the spirit of the various organizations which came together to make Christmas at the Harbor such a wonderful experience.
“When we all work together, we can do great things,” said Vorce.  “The Christmas spirit was truly uplifting.”
Vorce is now making plans for the State of the Chamber event to be held on January 9 and then the Hunting and Fishing Expo on February 24.