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Prairie City News

Young gifters ready to spread holiday spirit for WinterFest

File Photo
A young Prairie City WinterFest attendee wraps presents during last year's event at Prairie City Elementary. Hosted by the Prairie City Celebration Commission, this year's annual WinterFest will be held 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Prairie City United Methodist Church.
File Photo A young Prairie City WinterFest attendee wraps presents during last year's event at Prairie City Elementary. Hosted by the Prairie City Celebration Commission, this year's annual WinterFest will be held 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Prairie City United Methodist Church.

A gift, no matter the cost or size, will always brighten someone’s day. But as holiday budgets tighten and shopping focuses more on buying gifts for children, presents for hard-working parents may be placed on the back burner.

But thanks to a longtime Prairie City tradition, kids will once again get the opportunity to buy a present for their parents while having a little holiday fun of their own.

The Prairie City Celebration Commission will host its annual Winter Fest event from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Prairie City United Methodist Church. The celebration will allow young patrons to shop for presents, make holiday crafts and visit with Santa Claus.

“It gives the kids a chance to be able to buy things on their own. When you make it this cheap, they can really do it on their own. It gives them a sense of accomplishment,” event organizer April Clark said. “It is also fun because the families don’t know what they are going to get. It almost makes it a White Elephant.”

Clark’s 9-year-old daughter, Piper, has been attending the event since she was about 4-years-old. From creating unique crafts to purchasing neat items with her saved up cash, Piper has gifted her parents several fun presents over the years thanks to the annual shopping event.

“(Piper) earns an allowance each week doing chores at home, like feeding the cats and fish, and cleaning litter boxes. She will take money with her to the event,” the mother of two said. “It is kind of special because it is not an expensive gift. It is something she thought about and thought it would be something I like. Sometimes it makes you laugh.”

At an affordable cost of 25 cents per item, Winter Fest’s kids shopping spree allows kids to purchase gifts for all the loved ones in their lives. From items like home decoration kits to stuffed animals, Clark said the celebration commission decided to bring back the shopping spree this year to help kids gift a surprise present and add a little more fun to the holidays.

“I got a book once on decorating Longaberger baskets. One year I got a little Christmas light-up decoration. Whatever caught her eye really,” Clark said. “Last year, (Piper) bought her sister a stuffed Minnie Mouse doll. She loved the gift. It was things she wouldn’t necessarily be able to buy for people if it was new or full priced. I think it is special for her and special to us.”

Similar to years past, Santa Claus will make an appearance at the event for photos. Old Saint Nick will arrive at the church at 3 p.m. on a fire truck, according to the event organizer.

Clark said the celebration commission will again be partnering with the Prairie City Library for the event.

The Friends of the Prairie City Public Library will be sponsoring a craft table this year. According to Clark, every year the library hosts a different holiday-themed craft. This year’s craft is snowflake themed.

There will also be other holiday-themed craft stations at the event.

The library will host a new activity for children to enjoy. For $1, kids will be able to “Poke-A-Tree” and receive a fun prize. The proceeds of this activity will help fund programs and materials at the library.

“It is set up with cups and it is glued to this back. Tissue paper is put over it and the cups are arranged in the shape of a tree. You poke through the tissue paper and whatever prize is in the cup is yours,” Clark said.

According to the celebration commission volunteer, the event is normally at the elementary school. But due to the construction at the school, the group decided to move Winter Fest to the church.

She said despite the change in venue, the event will still bring the holiday cheer as it has in past years.

“We are just doing it for the kids in the community. It is an important tradition for us to continue,” Clark said. “It is what makes Prairie City special.”

The celebration commission still seeks gift donations for the holiday event. Presents for the kids shopping spree can be dropped off at Prairie City City Hall.

For more information or to volunteer at the event, call 253-324-4613 or find Prairie City Celebration on Facebook.

Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at areyes@myprairiecitynews.com

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