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Stage is set to kick off the holiday season in Alexandria

Light Up Broadway, Christmas in the Fort and Parade of Trees are highlights.

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Crews from ALP Utilities put up decorations above Broadway in Alexandria Monday morning in prepration for the lighting ceremony on Friday night, Nov. 25, 2022.
Al Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press
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ALEXANDRIA — The scene is set for a festive Christmas celebration in downtown Alexandria this Friday, Nov. 25.
On Monday, Nov. 21, workers put up the Christmas lights that adorn Broadway and other streets around town.
Here's a timeline of the events that will take place Friday, as provided by the Runestone Museum:
2 p.m. Broadway Street between Second and Third Avenue close to traffic, the switch is moved outside and the ALP Utilities boom truck arrives fully decorated sometime between 2 and 2:45 p.m.
2:45 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus meet with the Runestone Off-Road ATV Riders (ROAR) club at Winning Edge in full costume.

3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the locked gates of Fort Alexandria (bells are rung at the arrival and the gates open and event begins.

3:30 p.m. Zion Children’s Choir sing on the Stagecoach Stop Porch.

4:30 p.m. Alexandria Carolers sing on the Stagecoach Stop Porch.

5 p.m. People will gather onto Broadway for the Light Up Broadway celebration.

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5:15 p.m. The switch will be thrown to turn on the holiday lights.

5:45 p.m. Santa Claus will get ready for the parade, Lights On Broadway.

6 p.m. Gates close at Fort Alexandria. Broadway from Second to Third Avenue reopens.

6 p.m. Parade begins from Fourth to Eighth Avenue on Broadway.

Here are more details of the activities:

Light Up Broadway

Throwing the switch this year will be Alexandria’s own LaVina Larson. LaVina will be celebrating her 100th Christmas this year and she is also a retired school teacher who taught math at the old Central High School. LaVina even still gets together with other retired school teachers once a month to celebrate birthdays. Born in 1923, LaVina grew up on a farm outside of Glenwood and she has vivid memories of the Dusty Thirties. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 1945 and moved to Alexandria with her family in 1949. LaVina has traveled extensively and has children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all over the world. Ever the adventurer, LaVina learned how to water ski later in life and did so until the age of 80. She is active in her church and at Grand Arbor where she lives independently. She has also written several stories about her experiences for The Senior Perspective. LaVina is very active and spends much of her time visiting and playing games with friends and loved ones when she’s not on the phone speaking with them.

Christmas in the Fort

There will be apple cider, coffee and cookies in Fort Alexandria near the Stagecoach Stop. Hundreds of free new books to be given away by the Douglas County Historical Society in the Schoolhouse. Letters to Santa Claus can be written and mailed in the Schoolhouse, the Church and the large Ship Building (where Santa and Mrs. Claus will be). There will also be a new commemorative coloring page this year and tables to set up to color while waiting for Santa and Mrs. Claus (or take home with you). The Parade of Trees will be at the Legacy of the Lakes Museum Boathouse with a hot chocolate bar and s’mores. Proceeds from the Parade of Trees will be donated to Hospice of Douglas County this year and they will also be on display Saturday and Sunday nights from 5 to 8 p.m.
Chelsea Lee will be emceeing the event. National Honor Society students are volunteering at the event along with DECA.

Parade of Trees

The seventh annual Parade of Trees will take place. The Runestone Museum, and Legacy of the Lakes Museum along with other partners are pleased to bring this to the area. Organizers say it's becoming a favored event by community members and visitors alike. Clubs, organizations, and businesses are asked to decorate a holiday tree with a theme of your choosing. Organizers are encouraging voting monetarily — people put whatever they’d like as a donation into the tree of their choice (any amount they choose) or donate online. The donations will be divided among our hosts and Hospice of Douglas County. Attendees of the Christmas in the Fort event will be able to enjoy treats and vote on their favorite tree on display in the Legacy of the Lakes Museum Boathouse. New this year: An effort to encourage people to visit downtown merchants and extend the reach of this event. Each storefront may display a decorated and themed tree in their Broadway Street business (registration still required). Judges will have viewing and voting, along with donation options online as well as in person and extend the voting period.
If you are interested in participating, some things to know: Tree set up in the Boathouse and decorating will take place during museum business hours, November 21-23, 8:30 a.m. to 5p.m. and Friday, Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (prior to the event). Please bring supplies and materials needed to decorate along with an extension cord for any lighting. Please mark all items clearly to be identified if necessary. Take down of trees will be Monday, Nov. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This event will be open to the public Friday, Nov. 25. The Parade of Trees will also be open all weekend long during Boathouse evening hours, which are 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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