Spirit of the season to begin at annual Christmas in the Fort
There may not be any snow on the ground yet, but it's time to start thinking about the holidays.
Christmas in the Fort, which includes the annual lighting ceremony of downtown Alexandria, will take place in Fort Alexandria at the Runestone Museum next Friday, November 27.
The gates of the Fort will open at 3:30 p.m. and Santa and Mrs. Claus are set to arrive by horse and carriage around 3:45 p.m. They will be coming down Broadway beginning at 7th Avenue.
The Zion Children's Choir is set to perform at 4 p.m. and the Jefferson Carolers will perform at 4:15 p.m.
From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., carriage rides will be available for a small fee. At 5:15 p.m. the annual lighting ceremony will take place and the streets of Alexandria will flicker with festive lights.
The museum itself will be open during the Christmas in the Fort event with a paid admission.
Julie Blank, Runestone Museum manager, noted that to add to the festive atmosphere, there will be a "crackling fire burning" to add some warmth if the weather is on the chilly side. But she also stressed that people should dress warm and remember to wear their hats and mittens.
This year, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in "Santa's Workshop," which is otherwise known as the annex. This will keep them out of the elements when visiting with children. They will be collecting toys, mittens and hats for the Jaycees' Jingle Bells telethon fundraiser.
Also scheduled to make a special appearance are a couple of Santa's reindeer. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera to take pictures of their children with Santa and Mrs. Claus - and maybe the reindeer, too.
There will be several of Santa's elves, who are better known as the Junior Friends of the Museum, mingling among guests, helping with the collection of items for Jingle Bells.
Tom E. Lee from Z99-Radio will be the emcee.
Blank noted that the lighting ceremony wouldn't be possible if it weren't for all the hard work done by members of Alexandria Light and Power and the crew from the Alexandria Street Department.
"This is really a fun time for families and it's free," said Blank. "They can take in the sounds of the season and take pictures of their children with Santa."
She also noted that there would be free popcorn, pretzels and apple cider for guests to enjoy.
The gates of the museum are set to close around 5:30 p.m.
This event is sponsored by several businesses and individuals who contributed through the Runestone Musuem's four different giving levels - platinum, gold, silver and bronze.
For more information, call the museum at (320) 763-3160.