Small Town Christmas

Evart offers holiday fun from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday

EVART — With pony rides, the arrival of Santa Claus and a host of exciting family activities, Christmas is coming to the small town of Evart. The community’s annual celebration will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and offer holiday fun for young and old through a collaboration of local entities. “It is the fun event for December,” said Al Weinberg, member of Crossroads Community Church, which is hosting many of the activities. “It really is the Christmas in the Small town.” The event will be held at the Evart Depot and Crossroads Community Church, and include carnival games, a Euro bungie, pony and hay rides, free family portraits and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus among other activities. More than 1,000 people have attended the celebration in past years. “We’ve had people from Hersey, Reed City, Sears, Lake. We draw people from all around,” said Joe Yonner, event committee member. “Over the last couple years, we’ve had 1,100 to 1,200 people. It’s amazing.” Six years ago, Crossroads Community Church and SpringHill Camps joined in on the planning of event that has been a staple of Evart’s holiday season for more than two decades. “We asked ourselves, ‘How does our (church) Christmas program fall in line with what our goals as a church are?’ When we boiled it down, we wanted to be able to serve people in our community,” Yonner said. “The (Christmas in a Small Town) offers a great opportunity for nearly every member of our church to serve. Normally, we’ve had about 80 percent of our members serve in one way or another.” Today, the event is sponsored by Crossroads Community Church, the City of Evart, SpringHill Camps and the Evart Area Chamber of Commerce. Organizers hope the event will become an annual tradition for residents of Evart and surrounding areas. “There’s not going to be a lot different (from past years),” Yonner said. “We want to try to offer some new things, but we’re also trying to establish a tradition. We want it to be something people know they can come to as a family, and enjoy their time in the community.” In the spirit of family togetherness, families can participate in a Family Challenge at the event by completing activities together. “There are eight family events, and if you do five of the eight listed, you can put your family’s name into a drawing,” Weinberg said. “If you are the winner, you will get a ‘Staycation,’ which consists of a night’s lodging at the Osceola Grand Hotel with breakfast, lunch at Jalepenos and dinner and bowling at Twin Oaks.” Second- and third-place winners also will receive smaller Staycation packages. Along with family activities, local performers will offer a Christmas show. Event-goers can enjoy a Christmas comedy, a dance number by Steppin Up Dance Studio and a musical performance by the Evart High School band. The show will be held at 2 p.m., with the winners of the Staycation being drawn at 3:45 p.m. “We’re tring to reach out to the community and have an event that family’s can enjoy.” Yonner said. “That’s what it’s all about.” Each activity at the Christmas in a Small Town is free and open to the public.