By Carla Bumstead

Eaton Rapids’ annual celebration of the Christmas season, known as the Hometown Family Christmas, will take place Saturday, Dec. 6. A variety of activities — including Lunch with Santa, a Christmas bazaar, story telling at the library, a light parade and a tree-lighting ceremony — are scheduled through out the day and into the evening. The overall celebration is sponsored by the Eaton Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce (ERACC), with contributions from many local businesses and organizations.
Chamber director Don Wyckoff that, while ERACC is listed as the official sponsor of the event, it simply would not be possible without contributions from many local businesses.
“Our local businesses and organizations are the real sponsors,” Wyckoff said.
The daylong celebration will include several special events for children, including the annual Lunch With Santa sponsored by the Eaton Rapids G.F.W.C. women’s club. The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Eaton Rapids Wesleyan Church located at 6044 S. Clinton Trail. Santa is scheduled to arrive at 12:30 p.m. Aside from the traditional visit to Santa’s lap, scheduled activities include face painting, crafting an ornament, decorating cookies and children’s games. Lunch will include pizza, carrots and dip, chips and punch.
Cheri Sharp, who has served as one of the event’s main organizers for over 24 years, said it’s a family favorite that draws well over 100 kids each year.
“We now have several generations of people who make Lunch With Santa a tradition,” Sharp said. “We see parents, who had come in to see Santa when they were kids, bringing in their own kids.
“My son Corey is one of them. He came when he was little and now he’s bringing in his kids.”
There is an admission fee for the lunch, but anyone who brings in a non-perishable food item for the Community Christian Action Group will get a reduction in the admission price.
Another scheduled event designed to appeal to children is story telling at the Eaton Rapids Public Library. “Story Telling with Clifford The Big Red Dog” will take place at the library at 2, 2:45 and 3:30 p.m. A free children’s book will be given to every child in attendance that is age eight and under. The library is located downtown, at 220 S. Main Street.
Also taking place during the daylight hours will be the First Congregational Church’s annual Christmas Bazaar. Now in its 12th year, the bazaar will feature over 50 craft and gift vendors. The bazaar will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at both the church and at Red Ribbon Hall in downtown Eaton Rapids. The church is located at 300 S. Main Street, and the hall is next door. Lunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The light parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and will travel straight through downtown, from State to Knight streets. A tree-lighting ceremony and a community sing-a-long will take place immediately following the parade. The city Christmas tree is located in Hamlin Court. The island park will also be decked out in holiday lights.
Many other special events and activities, sponsored by local businesses and organizations, are planned to coincide with the Dec. 6 Hometown Family Christmas and are scheduled throughout the day. A complete schedule can be found elsewhere in this newspaper.
Carla Bumstead is the
editor of the Flashes
Advertising & News.