By Don Groves
The Albany Ledger
Santa Claus is coming to Albany Nov. 29 when the Albany Chamber of Commerce hosts the community’s annual Light Night on the square.
This year’s activities will take place on Clay Street directly north of the Gentry County Courthouse.
“All events will take place on the north side of the square,” organizer Connie Worden said. “We will set up a PA system in the street this year with speakers facing the north buildings.”
Events begin at 4 p.m. with Santa’s Workshop at Bookworm Bargains. Rolling Hills Creative Living will sponsor the event with Albany Community Betterment Youth assisting with the workshop. The youngster will also serve as Santa’s elves during the parade, Worden said.
“The craft will be making reindeer antlers,” Worden said. “For the kids who want to join in, they will then become Santa’s Reindeer and will lead him into town. We are also having the grade school classes do a coloring contest. We will post the artwork in the windows of stores who wish to display them and the winner from each class will get a glowing Rudolph nose to lead Santa’s entourage plus a Chamber Buck.”
Also at Bookworm Bargains an interactive Christmas reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” will take place throughout the evening. Youngsters will be invited to join in and perform parts during the reading.
The Friends of the Albany Carnegie Library will light the Memorial Tree in honor of loved ones at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from the tree help with improvements at the Carnegie Library.
New this year is the Reindeer Roundup, which will begin following the lighting of the Memorial Tree. Worden said reindeer will be hidden around the square in a scavenger hunt. Participants are asked to take photos of themselves with each reindeer. The winner of the Reindeer Roundup will win $50 in Chamber Bucks.
Albany United Methodist Church members are planning a live nativity scene from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the north courthouse lawn.
The parade and Santa’s arrival will take place about 6:30 p.m., Worden said.
“He will come from the north on Polk Street and will go around the square and stop in front of the Ledger. He will sit there to give out his candy canes.
We invite anyone to participate in the entourage with a float, vehicle or walking. Everyone is welcome.”
Holiday home tours will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We have three homes to tour — Susan Bridges’, Alyssa and Bobby Smith’s, and Amanda and Glen Hamilton’s,” Worden said. “We will provide transportation from the square and back.”
The Gentry County Historical Society Museum will hold an open house. Candy and cookies will be for sale at the museum.
Food and holiday items will be available from local vendors, Worden said. The Charitable Bikes will serve chili, the Cub Scouts will serve hot chocolate, s’mores and coffee, and the Boy Scouts will sell holiday wreaths. The chamber will serve hot dogs and sell bleacher seat cushions.
“Drawings for prizes will be held throughout the evening,” Worden said.
A grand prize drawing will be held at 8 p.m. The winner will receive $100 in Chamber Bucks. Winners must be present to win.
“Participating chamber members will have drawing registration forms in their businesses or folks can register for the prizes throughout the Light Night evening,” Worden said.
She said people should also remember Nov. 29 is Small Business Saturday. Holiday shoppers can help their community by shopping locally.