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Countdown to Christmas

Celeste Beam | Echo Press Downtown Alexandria came to life Friday evening after the Christmas lights were turned on during the annual Christmas in the Fort celebration. This year, new, multi-colored LED lights, which are more durable and energy efficient, were used in place of the older, bulb-style lights.1 / 4
Al Edenloff | Echo Press Four-year-old Chloe Roed of Alexandria shared a wish with Santa and Mrs. Claus during Christmas in the Fort Friday. Children lined up to visit with Santa and have their picture taken. Later, Santa and Mrs. Claus led a countdown to turn on the downtown Christmas lights.2 / 4
Celeste Beam | Echo Press The weather outside may have been frightful Friday evening, but the crackling fire inside Fort Alexandria kept attendees of the annual Christmas in the Fort celebration warm.3 / 4
Al Edenloff | Echo Press A new addition to Alexandria's Christmas lights is a big "Merry Christmas" sign that stretches across North Broadway between the Runestone Museum and the Probuild lumber store. A lighting ceremony took place Friday. See today's front-page story for details.4 / 4

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."

And Alexandria's new Christmas decorations flickered to life Friday night.

The countdown was part of "Christmas in the Fort" organized by the Runestone Museum.

The lights and the big trees they adorn over five Broadway intersections are all new this year.

The multi-colored lights are LED, which are more energy efficient and durable, according to Alexandria Light and Power, which puts up the decorations.

One other decoration change: A big "Merry Christmas" sign was placed across North Broadway, between the Runestone Museum and the Probuild lumber store.

The free celebration included a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus; a collection of toys, mittens and hats for the Jaycees' Jingle Bells telethon fundraiser (set for December 11); Santa's reindeer; a crackling fire to take the chill off; children's choirs; and popcorn, pretzels and apple cider for guests to enjoy.

This event is sponsored by several businesses and individuals who contributed through the Runestone Museum's four different giving levels - platinum, gold, silver and bronze.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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