As is annual tradition, the holiday season officially kicked off in Eagle River this past weekend with activities for the whole family.
The two-day event began Friday afternoon across town, resumed Saturday morning and concluded Saturday afternoon. Festivities included contests, shows, local business open houses and lots and lots of treats.
First National Bank hosted the annual gingerbread house contest. Local children and families had the opportunity to put their baking and decorating skills to the test. The sweet structures could be entered in one of five age-group categories, with awards given in each. This year’s entries included many traditional candy-adorned cabins. Unique submissions ranged from ski lodges to beach houses to Middle Earth Hobbit dwellings.
The Winter Wonderland tree lighting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at Town Square drew a large crowd as usual.
Locals gathered to listen to several elementary school choirs, warm up with hot cider and coffee from Starbucks, sample generously-sized cookies and witness the lighting of the Town Square Christmas tree and the arrival of Santa.
Many local clubs came together to make the Winter Wonderland a fun-filled event. Eagle River Rotary arranged for Santa to visit for the evening and also managed the reindeer petting. Additionally, the Rotary partnered with the Eagle River-Chugiak Food Pantry to collect nonperishables. The Sleeping Lady Lions Club hosted a Tree of Giving which matched community members to the wish lists of children in need. A variety of local volunteers came out to direct traffic and keep pedestrians safe.
The merriment and cheer continued Saturday during the second day of the Merry Merchant Munch.
Businesses across town kept their doors open, lighted their decorations and invited guests to sample holiday treats and goodies. Some business enhanced their in-store events by including additional attractions. River’s Edge and Keller Williams both hosted small vendor fairs with local small business owners and crafters hawking their wares and products. Parters Real Estate hosted a chili cook off which drew several warm and tasty entries.
The weekend of fun was made possible only by the collaboration of our many local businesses, clubs and community members.
Sara Kennedy is a special education teacher in the Anchorage School District. She likes to swim, bike and run around Alaska, and camp and fish with her family. To reach Sara, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.