Getting Ready For Santa

Hettinger’s annual celebration makes top 10 list for holiday festivities

A star gets hung on a light pole outside of Haley J. Evans Accounting & Tax Services on Main Street. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)
A star gets hung on a light pole outside of Haley J. Evans Accounting & Tax Services on Main Street. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)

By COLE BENZ | Record Editor
cbenz@countrymedia.net

It’s an annual tradition dating back decades and well known to residents of Hettinger and the surrounding area. But recently, the Wake Up Santa celebration has garnered attention on the national stage. The website www.OnlyInYourState.com recently put out a list of 10 of the top Christmas light displays in North Dakota, and the festivities in Hettinger was ranked number nine. The list, which was titled “10 Christmas Light Displays In North Dakota That Are Pure Magic,” was authored by a first-name-only writer named Leah and posted on Thursday, Nov. 17, just in time for the holiday season to kick off. Only In Your State is a website that publicizes some of the more known (and lesser known) features and attractions for each state.

A truck load of decorations could be seen down Main Street in Hettinger on Friday, Nov. 18. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)
A truck load of decorations could be seen down Main Street in Hettinger on Friday, Nov. 18. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)

Others making the list include Roberson Family Holiday Lights in Bismarck (No. 1), Holiday Lights in Lindenwood Park in Fargo (No. 2), Olson Decorations in Minot (No. 3), Holiday Dazzle Parade in Jamestown (No. 4), Chmielewskie’s Christmas Corner in Bismarck (No. 5), HollyDazzle Festival of Lights in Grand Forks (No. 6), Holiday Lights Drive (No. 7), Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade in Fargo (No. 8), and the Holiday Lights Parade in Williston (No. 10).

It’s quite a feat to be listed among other lighting events hosted in some of the more populated cities around the state including Fargo and Grand Forks. The next closest city to Hettinger on the list is Jamestown, which has more than 10 times the population. Which is a testament to the time and effort the community and the chamber put into making the event as special as it is. Visitors can see the list online at www.onlyinyourstate.com/north-dakota/2016-christmas-light-displays-nd/

This year will be the 31st celebration. It is a longstanding tradition for the crowds of the region to gather on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving to give Santa a glorious wakeup call.

This year attendees can line up and watch the fireworks kick off the celebration at 5:45 p.m.

The parade participants will be lined up and ready to go following the pyrotechnic show. They are scheduled to be waiting next to Kennedy’s Fresh Foods at 5:30 p.m. so they can start the parade immediately up the finale of the fireworks.

And what fun would it be if you didn’t try to out-do the next float? Winners in each of the three categories (Family/Individual, Business, Organization) will win a $25 Hettinger Chamber gift certificate.

The night isn’t over with the last float either. All kids 12 and under can go to the Hettinger Fire Hall and visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and receive a free candy treat. Free hot chocolate will also be available.

Last year the weather was nice, but the temperature was bitterly cold, which made it a tough go for some people with young families. The forecast for this Friday bodes well this year, as the high is estimated near 50 degrees with some clouds hanging around.