Santa did come to town!

Evart celebrates Christmas kickoff

With ear-to-ear smiles on their faces, brothers Logan and Sawyer Fink asked Santa and Mrs. Claus for Nintendo DS games for Christmas. The two patiently waited in line with their mother, Autumn Fink, and hundreds of other children, to see Santa during Evart’s annual Christmas in a Small Town. The family also participated in the variety of events offered during Saturday’s festivities. “This is a good place to bring the boys to see Santa and do crafts. We do it all,” said Autumn Fink. Organizers estimate about 1,100 people from the Evart area and beyond gathered at the Evart Depot and Crossroads Community Church to participate in the free event. Activities included hay rides, pony rides, carnival games, Euro-bungie, family portraits, a performance by the Evart High School band and, of course, a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. The festival has been a part of Evart’s holiday season for more than two decades. For the past six years, it has been organized by Crossroads Community Church, the City of Evart, Spring Hill Camps and the Evart Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s all about the community coming together to celebrate Christmas,” said Al Weinberg, member of Crossroads Community Church. “It’s about families, so we have tons of different activities that all are geared around families creating memories. It’s the ultimate family activity, where little kids and teenagers all can come out with their family, hang out and have a good time.” Spring Hill donated the use of its equipment for the one-day festival. “This was an opportunity for us to be able to provide an event for families to enjoy,” said Joe Yahner, facilities manager at Spring Hill. “We want people to be aware that we’re in the community and that we’re here supporting this area. There’s a lot of community events they can do at Spring Hill, like use our gym, tubing hill, pool and other things.” Justin Keathley celebrated Christmas in a Small Town with his daughter, Lexie, 7. They enjoyed many of the activities offered on Saturday. “It’s nice to see a small community do something like this,” said Keathley, whose pregnant wife is due Christmas day. “It’s the kickoff to the holiday season.”