Our Chamber of Commerce “Light the Night Holiday Celebration” took on a festive enchantment all its own.

“This is gonna sound strange, but I feel like I’ve stepped into a holiday Hallmark movie.” That sentiment was spoken more than once this past Saturday, as our Chamber of Commerce “Light the Night Holiday Celebration” took on a festive enchantment all its own.

The anxious visitors began streaming in just after sunset and the anticipation of the Big Man in Red could be felt . . . and heard, from a few little voices. The Sleepy Eye Fire Department delivered Santa on their cheerily-lit red chariot, giving the sign that the night could commence. We were blessed with amazing weather (a balmy 44 degrees) and a gloriously lit bonfire for those that started to feel the chill as the evening went on. The Holiday Lights in Motion crew has really outdone themselves this year and we were more than happy to reap the benefits of their hours of volunteered hard work. However, to be honest, I think they get just as giddy as all of us to see it come together and watch people enjoying their efforts.

If you weren’t waiting in line with a little one, who was anxious to tell Santa their deepest desires for under the tree and get their picture taken, you very well could have been in sitting inside the horse drawn carriage ride that took delighted visitors through the park and light displays. The jingle bells on the horses, the twinkle of lights strung atop the canopy, all while tickling their ears with some pretty spectacular carol singing, could have very easily transported you to that ‘Hallmark movie’ feeling. SouthPoint Financial Credit Union provided this magic moment for you.

Hot cocoa, warm cider, hotdogs and popcorn were provided to make for happy bellies on this night. Our local volunteers/sponsors from Volunteers of America, Americana Community Bank and First Security Bank, helped us succeed at that. In fact, they were almost too good at their job as our provisions quickly diminished, but thankfully we had s’mores! Our very own s’mores aficionados, Mr. Shannon Schutz and crew, kept the crowd happy with the chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow fixings.

People were everywhere—walking amidst the illuminated glow of the trees and displays, talking with friends, corralling children, meeting strangers, and all of them taking in the magic of the night. The Sertoma Club of Brown County, and Santa Claus, received quite the donation of toys to HIS Closet, once again showing just how giving our community is during this most special season. For three straight hours, the traffic was steady and our parking attendants did an outstanding job keeping everyone safe and on point. Even our very own Chief of Police, flashing lights and all, was helping out across the way at Divine Providence, making sure our overflow visitors had safe passage as well.

As you can gather this was a true community effort and plans are already being discussed for next year. So, if you missed us this year and you’re wishing to step into your very own holiday Hallmark movie, make a mental note: the Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce “Light the Night Holiday Celebration” will happen again . . . Minnesota weather permitting of course.