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Downtown Christmas Draws Community In For Festivities
This little parade goer was enraptured by the sights and sounds of the parade held Saturday night, Dec. 1 as part of the 10th annual downtown Christmas festivities.

Oh, the weather outside was frightful — but the shopping was oh, so, delightful at the 10th annual Old Fashioned Downtown Christmas on Saturday night, Dec. 1 in Oakdale. Celebrating a decade of holiday revelry, the event was set up along and around North Third Avenue, part of the downtown business hub.

In spite of chilly temperatures and an earlier downpour, merchants bravely set up shop on North Third and the community bundled up for the chance to take wagon rides, listen to carolers, and find that special handmade or unique gift item for that hard-to-shop for person on their holiday list.

Vendors came from all around, including neighboring cities, such as Denair-based sweet-treat maker, Libby’s Vintage Treats, which brought homemade English toffee treats created from recipes passed down from their grandmother.

“We’ve always given it away for friends and family and we finally just decided to make it a business,” Sheri Catlett explained.

Catlett and her sister decided to open a booth at the Oakdale event to get their name out there for their new business.

The event, which started humbly with an honest desire to unite the downtown merchants and bring back a sense of old-fashioned community to the town for the holiday season, has continued to flourish, creating a much-anticipated event for the City of Oakdale.

Lori Vierra, one of the founding members of the inaugural event, said she was happy to see the event still going strong 10 years later.

“It feels wonderful,” she said. “You know, the first one, everything fell into place so easily. After the first one, it wasn’t as easy but it feels wonderful to see how the town has supported us. It’s events like this that make small towns great. This is a really good thing going on in town.”

Vierra wasn’t alone in her thinking. In spite of really gloomy weather, families bundled up and hit the town ready to enjoy wagon rides, courtesy of the Stueve family — who donated the proceeds to the Children’s Guardian House — sipped hot chocolate and enjoyed the twinkling lights of the Christmas parade that also wound its way from Poplar Street to the downtown area.

In addition, canned food donations were accepted for Oakdale’s Community Sharing.

“This is really festive and fun,” Chelsea Binz agreed, who brought her family down to visit the vendors before getting ready for the parade. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

Newly reelected City Councilwoman Cherilyn Bairos, front left on trailer, was in the festive spirit on her float at the 10th annual downtown Christmas. The parade was part of the event for the second year and featured twinkly lights on parade participants, elves handing out candy and Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the lead with the OHS band and OHS and OJHS cheerleaders.
Infinite Athletics brought their ‘Whoville’-themed float to the parade Saturday, Dec. 1 for the 10th annual Downtown Christmas event with their littlest athletes dressed as Whos of Whoville and the music from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas playing on the speakers.
The 10th annual downtown Christmas shut down a section of North Third Avenue to host a variety of vendors from all around in spite of gloomy skies and chilly temperatures.