Holidays happenings in the Heart of the Hills

Leslie Silverman
The holiday season in Hill City is about to begin, with some fun new additions and some old favorites to help everyone get into the holiday spirit. 
The Lane of Lights’ Grand Illumination starts the season off at 6 p.m. Nov. 22. Over 60,000 lights will create a festive holiday wonderland along Museum Drive. The evening will feature food, drinks, singing and fun.
Residents and businesses have until Nov. 30 to register to compete in Hill City’s first annual Great Hill City Light Fight. The competition is for bragging rights for the best Christmas light display in town.  There are two categories: one for businesses and one for residents.  All businesses and residents of Hill City are eligible and encouraged to participate. Winning residents will receive a one of a kind trophy, while businesses will receive a traveling trophy. All winners get everlasting 2022 bragging rights.
Sign ups take place four different ways. Scan the QR code of any flyer posted around town and it will lead to a web-based sign up. Additionally, the online sign up can be viewed directly at
Paper applications are also available at the visitor center or town hall. Sign-ups are free. Judging will take place Dec. 3 at sunset with awards taking place the day after. 
The much anticipated  Olde Tyme Christmas Parade down Hill City’s Main Street begins at 6 p.m.  Nov. 25.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will welcome children prior to the parade at the Hill City Center between 2 to 4 p.m. 
“Children will be able to visit with Santa, tell him their fondest wishes, read their letters to him and receive an apple,”  said executive director of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce Janet  Wetovick-Bily.
Parade viewers can warm up with complimentary roasted chestnuts and cider prior to the parade and enjoy all the holiday  merriment along Main Street. There are 30 float entries in the parade  so far, but Wetovick-Bily is confident that number will be closer to the usual 45 to 50 the parade receives. 
Gingerbread Magic is back in Hill City again this year with two days  of voting to coincide with the Kris Kringle Craft Show. 
“We encourage anyone who loves gingerbread to show off their creative talents and enter a Gingerbread House in the competition,” said Wetovick-Bily.
Entries can be registered with the Hill City Chamber of Commerce now through 11 a.m. Nov. 23.
Participants can also bring their Gingerbread House to the Kris Kringle Craft Show and Bazaar between 7 and 8:30 on Friday, Nov. 25. 
Craft show attendees can vote on houses all day Friday and Saturday. Participants must remove their Gingerbread House at 4 p.m. at the close of the Kris Kringle Craft Show.  
The Kris Kringle Craft show will be held in the Hill City School gym both Friday and Saturday and features  handmade, one of a kind items and crafts that can make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. Thirty-six vendors will be on hand.
The winning Gingerbread House receiving the most votes as “People’s Choice” will be announced on Facebook.  
The South Dakota State Railroad Museum is also hosting its Trees and Trains exhibit Nov. 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
People are encouraged to stop by the museum to stroll past the beautifully decorated trees. Admission is $5 for adults, $15 for families and children 10 and under are free with a paid adult admission. There is also special group pricing. For an additional fee, families can also get professional photos with Santa Claus both days between noon and 5 p.m.
Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26 with many Main Street shops welcoming people all day long. 
Also on Saturday, The Lions Club is hosting its  monthly dinner and  bingo at the Boys and Girls Club. at 5 p.m.
“People can  try to win back some of the money they spent,” said Stefanie Doaty. The fundraising event is an opportunity to support the community and relax among friends. 
“Hill City’s planning committee of dedicated volunteers, along with our chamber member business partners, have, yet again, created a wonderful slate of Olde Tyme Christmas activities this year,” said Wetovick-Bily. 
She added, “Hill City’s Christmas joy and Christmas spirit are really in evidence all year long.  One of my favorite sayings comes from the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street.” 
“Kris Kringle said: ‘Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day.  It’s a frame of mind.’
 “That’s what Hill City is known for. From the chamber, we encourage everyone to join in, share with us the joy of the season and experience this wonderful frame of mind.”

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