Evart celebrates the reason for the season

EVART — A temperate afternoon may not be conducive to a winter wonderland, but it makes for a wonderful carnival.

Hundreds of area residents celebrated the Christmas season on Saturday at Crossroads Community Church and the Evart Depot, where the church and the city hosted the annual Evart Christmas Carnival.

The weather and turnout were great, according to Al Weinberg, who helped coordinate the celebration.

This year, the event included a singalong with students from Evart Elementary School and a performance by the high school jazz band, Weinberg said. Other carnival traditions, such as the Christmas comedy show, returned with all-new additions, he added.

“We did a rendition of Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk,’” he said. “We turned it around and made it ‘Santa Funk.’”

The event is a great way to start the Christmas season with family and friends, Weinberg said.

“My favorite part of the celebration is all of the families coming together to be a part of the fun, making great memories,” Weinberg said. “One of the joys of small-town community living is that this tends to be like a reunion for people.

“Kids are having fun and parents are having fun,” he continued. “It’s truly intergenerational – young children all the way up to grandparents and great-grandparents all enjoy the event.”

The carnival included games, pony rides, euro bungee, rock climbing and more. Children also were able to participate in a Christmas scavenger hunt that called for them to track down several wise men who wandered about the celebration. Youth Pastor Rob Rounds was among the wise men who shared a part of the story of the first Christmas with the scavenger hunters.

“We like to be able to help the community focus on the reason that we’re celebrating Christmas, because it’s easy to lose that,” he said. “We want them to be able to focus a little bit on Christ and what he’s done for us.”

Rounds said Kandace Gray was one of the coordinators who made the event a success. The planning process involved more than 90 volunteers from the church and city as well as Spring Hill, Gray said.

“This is our eighth year of doing the Christmas Carnival,” she said. “Basically, it’s a day for families to come and spend time together. This is the season of love and we really want to spread that out into the community.”

No Christmas carnival would be complete without Santa Claus. More than 100 children waited patiently for a chance at a few minutes with the big man, according to Kim Booher, the elf in charge of coordinating visits into Santa’s workshop.

“There’s been a steady stream of children,” she said. “I love seeing the amazement on the kid’s faces when they see Santa.”