Christmas cheer coming to Hill City

By Jeff Smith

A tree made out of video cassettes and other trees in the background make up the trees and Trains display at the South Dakota State Railroad Museum on Nov. 10.

Hill City’s Old Tyme Christmas parade has grown every year. Last year there were 35 floats in the parade.

Hill City alderwoman Kathy Skorzewski said there is a large amount of participation with the parade and it lasts about a half an hour. Chamber Board President Jason Peters and Vice President John Majrchzak will help Janet Wetovick-Bily with the parade line-up.

The Olde Tyme Christmas parade will be at 6 p.m. on Friday Nov. 24.

Parade entrants line up at Main Street at the high school starting around 5 p.m.

Janet Wetovick-Bily, director of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce, said it’s a major highlight of the day that begins with the merchants and area businesses spreading mirth and good cheer in the tradition of an Olde Tyme Christmas.

The number of floats that are entered also don’t include the number of emergency personnel and vehicles that lead the parade. Wetovick-Bily said altogether there are probably 45 entrants in the parade.

“Everybody loves a parade. One of the great things about it is seeing everybody line up on the street and seeing the joy on everybody’s faces,” Wetovick-Bily said.

Wetovick-Bily said the parade brings people from surrounding communities and other states out to Hill City. The chamber receives a lot of positive feedback after the parade.

“Hill City has the best small town parade,” Wetovick-Bily said.

The goal is also to get people to spend the whole day in Hill City instead of going to bigger towns to shop.

People can shop, dine and take in the Christmas celebrations and parade.

“Spend an entire day in Hill City and start a new family tradition,” Wetovick- Bily said.

Businesses will have specials, cookies, cider, welcoming spirit and decor.

“What better way to spend Black Friday than to come to Hill City with your family here in Hill City,” Wetovick- Bily said.

There will be chestnuts roasting, a tree lighting ceremony and live music at Alpine Inn right before the parade.

Merchants will be dressed up in clothes in the Victorian era. Men will have suits and jackets. Women will be wearing long skirts. Prairie Berry is helping the town in providing costumes to merchants. People will be able to take selfies or photos with the merchants. A couple of other spots in town will be given a Christmas makeover and will provide great photo opportunities.

An old wagon will be out in front of Twisted Pine Winery. Old World Plaza will have lights and other festive decorations up.

Kathy Skorzewski, city council member who is helping plan Olde Tyme Christmas events, said they are trying to expand every year what is offered. Instead of slimming down on Christmas events it’s important to offer new things.

“Every year we add a little bit to make it the best little Christmas place in the hills,” Skorzewski said.

The idea to have merchants wear costumes is an old idea, but a good one nonetheless.

Alpine Inn will have a 40 ft. tree from the forest that will be on the corner outside of the business.

The height of the spirited event is the lighting of the Christmas tree.

“It’s a great time to come together and celebrate holiday cheer,” Skorzewski said.

She said it’s important to come together not only as residents but as businesses too during the most important time of the year.

There will be a merchants booklet put together this year too. There will be different deals in the booklets and specials that businesses will have going on throughout the rest of the year.

Parade entry forms are available through the chamber and are due Monday Nov. 20th.  To receive one, simply call 574.2368.