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Holidays And Happiness In The 95361
jingle ladies
Oakdale will once again host an old-fashioned holiday event downtown, along with a parade, on Saturday, Dec. 3. In this float entry from a past parade, the Jingle Ladies and friends smile and wave to the crowd, helping everyone get in the holiday spirit. Leader File Photo

The holiday spirit is alive and well in the 209 and while it may be small, the spirit is mighty in the Cowboy Capital of Oakdale.

Kicking off the season in true fashion to its heritage is the 29th Annual Cowboy Christmas event which is hosted each year the first two days following Thanksgiving.

Hosted at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 South Second Ave., Oakdale, the festivities will take place Friday, Nov. 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A total of over 65 vendors will be onsite both in the community center, as well as in the courtyard. Shoppers will be treated to a variety of offerings including: western home goods, candles, clothing, jewelry, confections, housewares, food, craft items and more.

“This year we have some really great vendors coming,” Oakdale Cowboy Museum Manager Bambi Porter said of the annual event.

Porter further stated that the museum loves bringing the event to the community each year and kicking off the holidays with a western flare.

“You don’t need to buy anything. Maybe you’re just coming to capture the holiday spirit,” she said. “It kind of launches the holiday season. And you know we do it in Western style at Cowboy Christmas.”

In the true spirit of a western Christmas, Cowboy Santa will arrive to the courtyard at 11 a.m. for photos with all the good girls and boys.

“Seeing kids who are now bringing their kids, that’s pretty special,” Porter said of the event’s 29th year, “and our community really rallies around Cowboy Christmas and supporting the museum.”

Additional information on the Cowboy Museum or the Christmas event can be found at

Keeping tradition alive, Oakdale Downtown Merchants also enjoy sharing the spirit as they present Oakdale’s 14th Annual Downtown Christmas, organized and planned by Foxy Designs Clothing.

The event will be hosted Saturday, Dec. 3 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., along North Second and North Third avenues, Oakdale.

According to Event Coordinator McKaela Golding, close to 110 vendors will line the streets throughout the downtown corridor.

“We have a lot of new vendors this year, which is awesome,” Golding said.

One of the most exciting facts, which the coordinator felt it important to share, is that Oakdale’s Downtown Christmas is a fundraising event for charity.

All vendor fees collected are donated to a charity. The three charities benefitting from the fees include: Toys for Tots, Oakdale Lions Club and ASTRO Foundation.

“With the booth fees and the raffle, we’re hoping to raise over $10,000 for local charities in Oakdale,” Golding said.

In addition to extended store hours and a variety of vendors, Santa Claus will also be in attendance. Photos with the ‘jolly old soul’ will be at Integrity Air on North Third from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and pictures with the Grinch will be hosted in the Second Avenue parking lot from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. A Toys for Tots drop off and raffle location will also be located there.

“All of the downtown businesses and restaurants will also have Toys for Tots drop off boxes,” Golding noted.

As the date for the event draws nearer, the anticipation is growing.

“We’re just really excited. We have a lot of new vendors this year and a lot of returning vendors,” Golding stated. “Everyone is just really excited. We’re all going to be open late and are working together to make sure it’s a really good year.”

While shopping may be at the top of the list for many this holiday season, there’s even more fun happening downtown on that Saturday, Dec. 3 as the Oakdale Enrichment Society hosts its Sixth Annual Christmas Parade beginning at 5 p.m.

The parade will travel eastbound from Oak Street down Poplar, concluding at E and Second. Spectators are encouraged to bring chairs and set up early to take in the frolic and fun of 50-some entries in the annual event.

Individuals interested in entering a float may do so by submitting the entry form found on the non-profit’s website, Volunteers are also needed for the day of and day following for clean-up.

“It just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to see all the people’s faces of happiness,” OES co-founder Lisa Ballard shared. “It brings me so much joy and fills my heart.”

A variety of entries from clubs, to Boy Scouts, the marching band and regular appearance of “The Jingle Ladies” are just some of the fun spectators will find. Not to be outdone, Cowboy Santa will also be on hand for all the little cowpokes attending the parade.

“Everyone comes out to have a great family fun event,” Oakdale Mayor and fellow OES co-founder Cher Bairos said, when asked what she enjoys most about the annual parade.

The parade, as well as Downtown Christmas are both free and open to all in search of some holiday fun.