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Christmas in the valley
December 04, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

File photo Kids and adults alike craft old fashioned ornaments at last year’s Christmas on the Prairie celebration at Scotts Bluff National Monument. Ornament-making is featured again this

With the opening of Santa’s Village, Christmas parades, fun runs and tree lightings, the holiday season is in full swing in the valley. This Saturday, Dec. 5, will be no different as a number of groups and organizations will host festivities for the entire family.

The staff at Scotts Bluff National Monument will celebrate “Christmas on the Prairie” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s an opportunity to see how the pioneers celebrated Christmas in the late 1800s. Children and adults are invited to make paper chains, popcorn strings, paper balls and stars, all the decorations that were popular during pioneer days. Kids can also make pine cone bird feeders to give the birds a happy Christmas. Painting dough ornaments is another popular activity for the kids.

Monument Ranger Lesley Gaunt said she found some historic cookie recipes. So, refreshments will feature gingersnap and sugar cookies, as well as hot cider and chocolate. Plus, the Village Players will provide some of the traditional carols and music of the season.

Legacy of the Plains Museum hosts “High Plains Christmas” Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring both indoor and outdoor fun. Visitors can ride on a hayrack, toast marshmallows, enjoy hot chocolate and coffee, and work on crafts. The kids can also write a letter to Santa. At about noon, letters will be delivered to Santa’s Village by a Pony Express rider.

Members of the Sugar Valley Singers will provide the musical entertainment, and a lunch of soup and bread or hotdogs will be available for purchase.

A reminder that local service organizations have decorated Christmas trees for the annual tree decorating contest, Trees are on display at the museum and the public is encouraged to cast $1 vote tickets for their favorites. The funds go to the museum and to local charitable organizations.

Also on Saturday, Dec. 5, Chimney Rock Historic Site, just south of Bayard, will celebrate “Christmas at the Rock” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to make holiday crafts, play games and enjoy holiday treats.

The Melbeta Post Office is also hosting an open house Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be hot chocolate, cider, coffee and cookies for folks who drop by. Their historic mailboxes and service window will be on display, along with an antique stamp collection. All holiday cards and packages mailed that day will be hand postmarked, as it was done years ago. The Melbeta Post Office is at 101 2nd St., one block south of the Highway 92 and County Road 29 intersection.

Santa’s Village is open at the Gering Civic Center parking lot from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be cookies, coffee and hot chocolate as the kids visit the old elf with their wish lists. Bring your camera for some pictures of the village – always a holiday favorite.

The next weekend, on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Riverside Discovery Center celebrates its annual Holiday at the Zoo event. The kids can visit with Santa. Visitors can enjoy crafts, caroling, cookie decorating and a chance to watch the animals open their presents.

Discovery Center staff will be serving hot chocolate, chili and S’mores as concessions to warm people up as they celebrate the season. Be sure to bring a camera to capture some priceless memories. The Riverside Discovery Center is located at 1600 South Beltline Highway West in Scottsbluff.

The public is invited to make the most of these numerous events and help the community get into the spirit of another joyous holiday season.
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