Snow helped make Down Home Christmas special

Lighted parade held after dark was well received by community

Katrina and Isabel Morgan, of Bethel, sit on Santa’s lap at St. Mary’s Church during Bethel’s Down Home Christmas celebration Saturday.

The lighted floats and the light snow made for a perfect, if chilly, evening in Bethel for the Down Home Christmas Saturday.

The 2010 celebration differed from previous years after the committee decided to hold the parade after dark.

Judy Adams, head of the Down Home Christmas committee, said the change came about because of suggestions from the community.

“It was great having it later in the evening because it put everything in a whole different light,” Adams said. “It pays to listen to the community.”

Santa must have brought snow with him when he came down for breakfast with Santa at the Bethel-Tate high school. The snow was enough to provide a perfect backdrop for the Christmas activities but not enough to make driving hazardous.

“With the snow coming down it really added to the whole atmosphere,” Adams said. “We were very blessed and fortunate that the roads were wet but not slippery.”

After breakfast Santa went next door to St. Mary’s Church, which hosted kids’ fest. The activities included ornament making, a cake walk, games, and, of course, a chance to sit on Santa’s lap.

After a busy afternoon of craft shows, storytelling, slot car racing and more the streets were lined with residents who braved the cold weather at 6 p.m. as the parade began.

Adams said the 2010 parade was the largest Christmas parade yet.

“The floats looked great with lights on and the whole town was lit up with Christmas lights,” Adams said.

Bringing up the rear was Santa Claus riding on a Bethel-Tate fire engine.

“Watching the kids enthusiasm as Santa came down the street was just awesome,” Adams said.

After the parade the community gathered in the snow covered Burke Park for refreshments and Christmas carols in the beautifully decorated shelter house. Adams said there were more than 100 people gathered in the park for hot chocolate, hot cider, and cookies.

On Sunday evening the local churches gathered at Bethel United Methodist Church for music and refreshments.

Adams said participation by local businesses was was up.

“I want to thank the village of Bethel for allowing us to hold this event year after year and the businesses that help make it a great success,” Adams said.

She said plans have already started for next year’s Down Home Christmas and the parade will once again be in the evening.