Laurel’s Christmas to Remember organizer recalls tradition

By: 
Kathleen Gilluly
Outlook managing editor

One of Laurel’s most anticipated events is almost here. Each year the first Sunday in December brings a bevy of holiday events including a lighted parade and fireworks to the city. Christmas to Remember, featuring Santa Claus, will return to downtown Sunday, Dec. 4. Grab some pocket change for the bazaar, tune your singing voice for carols and get ready to be whisked away to the North Pole. Businesses will offer hot chocolate, coffee and treats; fully decked out trees will grace the halls of The Crossings; and its chapel will host a collection of creches unmatched even by the Vatican.
According to one of the coordinators of the day’s events, Jean Carroll Thompson, it takes a number of people and organizations to bring the annual celebration to life. While the primary sponsor is the Laurel Women in Business club, the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department, Pizza Hut, Santa, local businesses, churches and the schools all play roles important to the success of the day.
“We do it out of tradition and to raise money to provide a scholarship to a Laurel High School senior every year,” Thompson said. “But, that is just a small part of the overall picture.”
As she explained, the event has expanded every year since its inception in 1985.
“That was year one,” she said. “Donna Kilpatrick and I travelled to Leavenworth, Washington to see their Christmas celebration and get ideas. That was before our club was actually incorporated, but we’d been meeting for a couple of years.”
Eventually, Laurel’s celebration began including more and more facets, mostly to help raise scholarship funds.
“We’ve been providing the scholarship since about 1998,” Thompson said. “We have fundraisers throughout the year for that.” The Laurel Women in Business club hopes to begin raising enough money to add a second scholarship beginning in 2022. That date is significant because it marks the year when the CTR parades’ Grand Marshals will begin graduating.
“In 2008, we had the first kindergarden royal court,” the former Laurel business owner explained. “That has become such a popular part of the parade we hope to have scholarship money for those kids,” she said.
This year, as in the past, the Prince and Princess were selected out of a pool of kindergarden-student candidates by folks who voted on their photos at Altana FCU. The penny-per-vote campaign money goes toward the scholarship fund. The royal court was entertained Saturday at the Laurel Senior Citizen Center with a magic show performed by Pattycake the Elf. The Prince, Princess and the rest of the royalty received a special Christmas ornament and pizza, cake and ice cream. In another 12 years, one of them may get a scholarship.
This year’s Prince is Loden Eastlick. The Princess is Tenley Hersel. Their royal court includes Gabriel Brownlee, Abby Cramer, Audreinona Edmunds, Jaydyn Farnsworth, Maila Gebnhard, McKliren Golden, Carly Guenthner, Taycey Harrison, Addie Lewis, Jermiah Lopez-Smith, Raleigh Mora, Lymann Plain-Bull, Lliennon Rhoads, Henli Richeson, Kacey Strawbridge, Austin Wagaman and Ellie Wetch. While all the children will be in the parade the Grand Marshals have the honor of sitting with Santa. After the parade, LVFD firefighters will set off fireworks from Fireman’s Park at Main St. and 1st Ave.
See the complete schedule of CTR activities next to this story.

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Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 20, 2019
Third Saturdays, 1 p.m., The Crossings, 600 Roundhouse Dr.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.

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