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The library in Cerro Gordo has been serving residents there since 1892, so organizers of this Saturday’s Christmas on the Hill Festival thought it was time they were recognized by the annual holiday event.
“We had looked in the past who had been grand marshal, and we found (the library) had not been marshal for either the Christmas parade or the Fathill Festival in the summer, and just felt it was time to honor them,” said Nancy Born, who is co-chairman of the event with Tammy Nuding.
“The library (Hope Welty Public Library) has events for kids all year, and they do a lot for the community,” added Born.
The parade steps off at 10 a.m. Dec. 1, and is one of many events at the 12th Annual Christmas on the Hill, sponsored annually by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #117 in Cerro Gordo.
The event will also host events at the Cerro Gordo Elementary School beginning at 9 a.m., including face painting, balloon sculpting, vendors alley, craft and bake sales, a bucket raffle, and a 50/50 drawing.
Musical added this year
New this year is a 90-minute musical, “Yes, Virginia,” which will be presented by Cerro Gordo fifth graders at 3 p.m. and 7 pm. in the Cerro Gordo Middle School gymnasium. Director Pamella Grohmann said the story is based on the famous letter written by Virginia O’Hanlon in 1897 inquiring about the existence of Santa Claus, and the response received from writer Frank Church of The Sun in New York.
Even though the original story is over 100 years old, Grohmann feels it still resonates today.
“I personally love this music and the story that creators developed. I thought that it fit the economic time period that many are currently dealing with. It was cold, times were tough, and so many people were out of work and poor in the late 1890’s, much like today.”
In the modern rewrite, Virginia ventures into a city and encounters a scraggly Santa ringing a bell, an excitable librarian and her quirky doctor father. When they can’t give her the answers she seeks, she writes her letter to Church, who answers in an editorial in The Sun.
“This is a brand new show and as far as I know we are the only downstate school with this debut,” added Grohmann. Cookies and hot cocoa will be served during intermission.
Born is happy that elementary school students want to be a part of Christmas on the Hill.
“I think it’s really great they coordinated it with the days’ activities,” said Born.
Christmas on the Hill will also feature several activities in Cerro Gordo Elementary School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They include a vendor alley, candy store, cookie walk, balloon sculptures, face painting, open houses at local businesses, and drawings and raffles.
One of the largest raffles is the bucket raffle, a fund raiser for the auxiliary that usually generates about 40 prize packages.
Another well-attended event is the free lunch with Santa at 12 p.m., also in the elementary school.
At 1 p.m., Hope Welty Public Library will also host a special, holiday-oriented story and craft time.
Born says a lot of work goes into the day, but that in the end it is worth it.
“It comes on you pretty quick when it’s the first Saturday each December,” she said. “But it’s been well-received. We’ve been pleased through the years how the community has supported it.”