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Christmas will come to life in Alexandria Friday

File photo | Echo Press Santa and Mrs. Claus were a big hit at last year's Christmas in the Fort at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria. The couple is planning a return visit this year to hear children's wish lists for the holidays.

Ready or not, the Christmas season is starting in Alexandria this week.

Crews from Alexandria Light and Power and the city street department are putting up the Christmas decorations.

A ceremony to light them will take place Friday, November 26 as part of the "Christmas in the Fort" celebration at the Runestone Museum.

The decorations, which typically take about three days to put up depending on the weather, will grace Alexandria's downtown area until at least January 1.

The gates for Christmas in 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.

For safety purposes, 2nd Avenue will be blocked from traffic one block east of Broadway and North Broadway will be blocked from north of Downtown Liquor to Big Ole Central Park.

At 5:15 p.m. the annual lighting ceremony will take place.

The museum itself will be open during the Christmas in the Fort event with a paid admission.

A crackling fire will add some warmth if the weather is on the chilly side. But the museum advises people to dress warm and remember to wear their hats and mittens.

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.

Julie Blank, museum manager, 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 (320) 763-3160.