The spirit of Christmas came to life in a family fun display of celebrations that got adults and kids ready for the holiday season.
On Saturday, Dec. 3, downtown Castleton was transformed into an illuminated display of lights, laughing, and joyful celebration as everyone joined together for an amazing event.
The morning began with crafty Christmas-themed activities, such as creating snowmen and snowflakes. Children and adults from Castleton and the surrounding communities got together to decorate and make various crafts that would soon be given as presents to parents, friends, or relatives.
Following that, locally owned small businesses were exhibiting their items with the community at the Christmas Market. Pop-up tents were placed right in front of the Texaco and front of Third Place Pizzaria right downtown. There was just about every kind of small gift/souvenir you could think of, ranging from crochet chickens to dream catchers to delicious Christmas-themed cookies.
“I’ve been making cookies for a long time now, they helped me pay off my student loans,” says Castleton alum Marie Park, CEO of Maries Cookie Kitchen, “unfortunately I was to graduate in 2020 but never got a graduation because of COVID. Making and selling these cookies has helped me in so many ways, student loans and now paying off my braces.”
The market was filled with holiday cheer and community support. Purchasing distinctive presents allowed customers to support small business owners and craftspeople.
Harley Adams and Deborah Lee from a local farm even brought their prized goats for a little show and tell.
“This is Lily and her twin Luna and that’s Rowan and her sister Irwin,” Harley Adams explains, “these guys do not have any ears, but that’s not our doing, we don’t cut them off, it’s genetic, they were born that way.”
The goats ranged from brown, light brown, white, and a mix of brown and white. You could even feed the goats for 25 cents, which was a huge hit with many children.
“This is my first time feeding a goat!” and “Do they bite?”, were some common exclamations from kids.
The nighttime commenced with the heartwarming Lighting of the Tree of Remembrance, a festive ceremony honoring cherished memories of the town. Bright, colorful Christmas lights lit up the towering tree and cast a warm glow over the gathered crowd.
People of all ages were holding on to their loved ones and shining their flashlights in the singing of This Little Light of Mine, right before the countdown of the tree lighting.
Wendy Patterson, Castleton Alum and member of the Castleton Womens Club was the leader of the ceremony and the lighting, giving kind words and joyful remarks about the start of the Christmas Season.
“Thank you all for coming and thank you for being a part of our community. I truly can’t express enough how happy I am that so many people came out for such a big celebration. We truly appreciate everyone,” Patterson said, leaving everyone feeling sentimental and warm.
“This is the best time of the year and I love celebrating with everyone and coming together as a community, we also got so many donations for the Tree of Remembrance this year, I’m grateful to all,” Patterson said.
The tree lighting took place just before the main event, The Christmas Parade. Hundreds of people lined both sides of the street, anxiously awaiting the various types of floats to come down.
Families’ faces were beaming at the site of multi-colored trucks, tractors, floats, inflatable characters, and of course Santa Claus.
“I can’t believe it’s him! Shouldn’t he be getting ready for Christmas?” Little girls exclaimed when he passed by. Santa was on a huge lit-up float with children of all ages hanging off the sides waving and passing out candy to the people on the street. Behind him was a huge inflatable reindeer that waved through the air. We even got a visit from the Grinch who appeared behind the float.
As the floats, trucks, and tractors drove down Main Street and turned down South Street, fireworks painted the sky to symbolize the night was coming to an end. Festive colors of red and green sparks were displayed in the air. Huge, loud booms could be heard from miles and miles away.
Students were on their yards and children were on their parent’s shoulders, as they watched the colorful sky. The Christmas spirit persisted and was present in everyone as the final fireworks echoed, which served as a symbol of family and community during Castleton’s holiday season.