By Laurie Hindman
Saturday’s Christmas in Berthoud was packed with fun, shopping and goodies. Star-struck children lined up for photos with Santa at Remax Town and Country Real Estate, rosy-cheeked couples cuddled up for horse drawn carriage rides through town and shoppers enjoyed hot cider and chocolate at Berthoud Drug while checking out the many gift items. So many families came to the “Make and Take” craft fair at Berthoud Elementary that several tables ran short of supplies; the craft event made over $900 towards the Christmas in Berthoud fund established to help needy families in the Berthoud area. In total, $5,635 was collected.
The Berthoud Chamber of Commerce has traditionally sponsored the Christmas in Berthoud festivities. This year the Chamber teamed up with members of local churches, businesses and individuals, with the ambitious goal of raising $15,000 to aid struggling families. Thus far, 40 families have qualified for assistance.
Treats were also on hand at the Wildfire art sale which featured jewelry, painting, pottery, candles and more –– all created by local artists. Many shoppers took their Christmas lists to the Berthoud Community Center where over 25 home-based businesses packed the room.
Free live, music from 2 to 9 p.m. at Grace Place put everyone in the holiday spirit. The wonderful local entertainment included the Berthoud High School Marching Band, the Letting Go Band, the Berthoud High Bridge Between Show Choir and the Grace Place Children’s Choir.
As darkness fell, church bells chimed throughout town, signaling the beginning of the Parade of Lights. This was Berthoud’s longest Christmas parade ever with more than fifteen entries, culminating with the arrival of jolly old Saint Nicholas atop a fire truck. The holiday revelers then headed to a stage in Fickel Park for the tree lighting. At the flip of a switch Berthoud philanthropist “Doc” Fickel illuminated one of the park’s largest pine trees decorated with blue and white LED lights and sparkling silver ornaments. White candles were handed out and as the flame passed from person to person, Grace Place choir members led the crowd in Christmas carols, including Joy to the World and Silent Night.
As the candles were blown out and families headed home, calls of ”Merry Christmas” could be heard across the park. Christmas in Berthoud was not only a day of giving, but also clearly a day of receiving for everyone who came.
“It was such a good feeling to see the community come out,” said Don Dana, Executive Director of the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce. “So many people came to help. It was a great community effort.” Dana said that Mayor Tom Patterson spent the afternoon hanging lights on the pine tree in Fickel Park; Gary Maggi of Remax Town and Country also took a shift.
“There are a lot of people to thank,” said Dana. “We had volunteers who set up the stage, decorated the tree, provided a generator and much more. I do want to say that Scott Banzahf ran the parade like nobody else could and that it was so generous of Doc Fickel to donate the LED lights for the tree.”
Dana emphasized that Christmas in Berthoud in not over. “It’s kind of like the twelve days of Christmas,” he noted. “We are collecting money for the fund through the 19th [of December]. On the 20th, we will be delivering aid to the needy families.”
Donation cans are placed in just about every business in town. Direct donations can be made at Home State Bank. Many area restaurants are offering special deals, with a portion of the proceeds going to the fund. For a complete list, as well as holiday savings coupons, go to www.christmasinberthoud.org.
“I realize these are tough times for many people,” said Dana. “But some in our community are really hurting. If everybody just gave a little to help those in need, we could really make a difference.”