City of Helena celebrates the Christmas spirit

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

HELENA – Helena residents were filled with the Christmas spirit this weekend as the city’s various Christmas activities kick off on Dec. 3.

The Helena Business Association held their Helena Holiday Festival on Friday, Dec. 3. The event went throughout Old Town Helena and included local arts and craft vendors as well as local food trucks, all scattered throughout the decorated Old Town area. Parents were able to get their Christmas shopping done while kids visited with Santa, took part in crafts and various other fun activities.

That same night at 7 p.m., the Helena Beautification Board held its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony by the caboose in Old Town. The tree lighting was part of the Board’s special “A Christmas to Remember” festivities. Hundreds of Helena’s residents gathered to hear the holiday musical stylings of special musical guest Big Band trumpeter Jim Quakenbush, in addition to performances from Dance Et Cetera Dance Troupe and the Helena High School Choir.

The Beautification Board’s Chris VanCleave said the tree lighting is “Helena’s Hallmark moment,” and serves as a perfect way to bring the community together to kick off the Christmas season.

“This is what small town looks like,” said City Councilmember Alice Lobell. “Everybody coming together and getting in the spirit of things. This is what Helena is.”

The festivities didn’t end there, however. On Saturday, Dec. 4, Helena families gathered all up and down the streets of Old Town to enjoy everyone’s favorite Christmas tradition: the Helena Christmas parade. Residents brought their camping chairs and blankets as early as three hours before the parade started to make sure they had the best spot. Children jumped around gleefully with their pillow cases and bags in anticipation of candy being thrown from the various floats.

The parade theme this year is “50 Years of Christmas Joy,” and will have several elaborate floats that represent the best of the city of Helena. Everyone from Helena’s High School Marching Band, members of the Miracle League to the Grinch himself rode down the streets smiling and shouting “Merry Christmas.”

The highlight of the parade was the big red one himself, Santa Claus, who was accompanied by his eight “reindeer” on motorcycles.