Christmastime is here

Holiday strolls in full swing

SHERIDAN—The first of many holiday festivities kicked off on Friday evening, November 30, as Sheridan hosted its annual Christmas Stroll.

Businesses exceeded their regular business hours and supplied hot chocolate, cookies, cinnamon rolls and even soft pretzels if you stopped by the Shovel and Spoon, and hay rides traversed Main Street all evening. 

Met by the first significant snowfall of the season, hundreds of revelers took to the streets to enjoy holiday treats, bonfires and the lighting of two Christmas trees at the north end of town: a Douglas fir and a juniper tree, bedecked in colorful lights while spectators cheered and waved sparklers. 

And a familiar face made an appearance at the Prospector Restaurant at the other end of town: Santa Claus spent the evening handing out treats to Christmas Stroll attendees young and old, as well as hearing their Christmas lists while there’s still enough time to relay any last-minute additions to his elves.

The Christmas celebrations will continue this weekend with Ennis’s Christmas Stroll on Friday evening, December 7. Like Sheridan’s it will include free hayrides—provided by Matt Clover and the Vigilante Stageline team seen around Virginia City all summer long—and a festive tree lighting at Lions’ Park at 5 p.m. 

There will also be a competition for which business can create the most festive Christmas decoration display, awarded with a commemorative plaque. Willie’s Distillery took home the top prize last year, but Chamber of Commerce director Halley Perry says a repeat is not guaranteed by any means.

“There’s going to be some tough competition this year,” Perry says. The Chamber sponsors the stroll, as well as an annual fundraising competition for students at Ennis Elementary.

Each year, students from kindergarten through sixth grade design buttons commemorating the Christmas stroll, with the winning design reproduced and sold at businesses around town. Proceeds from the fundraiser go to the student enrichment fund at the school, used to bring speakers and other new and unique opportunities and experiences to Ennis students.

This year’s winner will be experiencing the Christmas Stroll for the first time; sixth-grader Audrey Jones moved to Ennis from Gardiner earlier this year, and utilized the techniques her art class was practicing—learning to draw spheres—in her button design featuring a classic red ornament. Jones’ button is for sale all over town, but each of the over 150 students who participated in the competition got their design turned into a button for them to keep.

Another highlight of the Christmas Stroll will be the annual ice sculpting competition, says Perry. With nearly a dozen participants, sculptures crafted out of giant blocks of ice will be on display all over town, from Madison Valley Public Library to Peter T’s Park and up and down Main Street.

“You don’t even have to know what you’re doing,” laughs Perry. “Some businesses will pay to have their logo sculpted, it’s always a fun competition.”

The Ennis Christmas Stroll will run from 3-8 p.m. on Friday, December 7. The American Legion is also starting a Christmas light fund to help decorate Main Street in future years, for which donations are welcome.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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