By Emily Bialkowski
Winter Wonderland 2012 promises another great weekend of constant activity and fun for the whole family. Festivities start this Friday, Dec. 7 when the Rotary Club hosts their annual soup and chili supper in the city auditorium basement.
Events will extend through Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9.
It’s hard to pin down a single feature event between the grand parade at 7 p.m. Friday and the multiple hot air balloon launches.
Sue Bauer, Caledonia Community Celebrations board member, said, “The big thing we like to do during all our celebrations is we like to involve other organizers. The more people we can get at an activity – the more the merrier.”
Caledonia Lions, Community Education, Bluff and Valley Balloon Committee, Houston County Fair, Houston County Historical Society, Caledonia Rotary and Caledonia Ladies Auxiliary all take part in some capacity and help keep the event running like a machine.
One of Bauer’s favorite events is the parade, though she said she could list the joy each event holds individually. “It’s just really neat to see all the small kids and parents bundled up all excited to see that parade,” she said.
After everyone has become sufficiently cold and the parade has ended, families can head back into the city auditorium for Santa’s magical play land where a variety of hands-on activities surround the guy in the red.
One new highlight at Santa’s magical play land is a booth filled with material to create cards for soldiers.
“We are actually going to be sending letters to soldiers, and even if people don’t want to take time to make a card that night they can bring one in and we’ll get them to deployed soldiers,” Bauer said. “They love getting letters. It is really great for them.”
Those who enjoy things of antiquity must make it a point to swing by the Houston County Historical Society at the fairgrounds where several special collections will be featured, including those of Irene Hosch, Janice Stalsberg, Helen Houlihan, Shirley Johnson and Janice Doering.
Several local school children have also supplied homemade ornaments for the many Christmas trees at the museum buildings.
And, as traditional has unfolded, hot air balloon flying will dot the countryside with a truly special vision.
“Everyone really anticipates the balloons going up. It’s so exciting to watch those balloons inflate and go up. Even more so, I drive through the country trying to go down gravel roads and follow the balloons making quick turns and reverses as they travel. It’s so exciting to follow them – it’s phenomenal,” Bauer said.
The complete list of all the weekend’s activities follows.
Friday, Dec. 7
• Caledonia Rotary soup and chili Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the Caledonia city auditorium. Carry outs will be available, and there is a $50 Caledonia Buck door prize!
• Grand parade at 7 p.m. in downtown Caledonia. The route extends from Grant, Pine, Main and Kingston Streets.
• Santa’s magical play land after the parade in the city auditorium. The play land includes treats, fun activities and games for children. Visitors can also meet Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus and enjoy a holiday bake sale by the Caledonia Ladies Auxiliary.
This year material will available to make cards for deployed soldiers. Those who wish to start early and bring in a prepared card may do so as well.
Saturday, Dec. 8
• Lions breakfast with Santa from 7:30 to 11 a.m. in the city auditorium basement.
• Bluff & Valley Balloon Rally balloon launches 7:30 a.m. at the Caledonia High School practice fields (in back).
• St. John’s School Holiday Craft Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. John’s School gym.
• Houston County Historical Society Old Fashioned Christmas Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Houston County Fair Grounds.
• Bluff & Valley Balloon Rally balloon launches 2 p.m. at the Caledonia High School practice fields (in back).
• Wine Tasting & Silent Auction at 7 p.m. at the Four Seasons Community Center with all proceeds to benefit the continuation of the balloon launches.
Sunday, Dec. 9
• Bluff & Valley Balloon Rally balloon launches at 7:30 a.m. at the Caledonia High School practice fields (in back).
• Sunday buffet brunch with balloon pilots from 8 a.m. to noon at Elsie’s Bar & Grill.