The Clay County Courthouse has been decked with 5,000 dancing lights, a 20-foot community Christmas tree erected, light poles garnished and out door speakers installed. Now it’s time to celebrate the season.
After raising the $63,000 needed to complete phases 1 and 2 of lighting the courthouse, the Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce will host its first Clay County Christmas Saturday night.
The Dec. 3 event expands on the Holiday Happenings of years past, including the traditional lighted Christmas parade through downtown Henrietta.
Already 19 float entries have been submitted for the parade, with more coming in every day. Betty Ellsworth, chamber secretary, said she expects 30 entries, including the popular Jim Lowe and his bullwhip, marching bands and the 4-H Horse Club.
The event begins at 5 p.m. with Cub Scout sled races, followed at 5:30 with live entertainment as Michelle Cassetty of Bellevue sings Christmas carols.
The lighted parade is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by more music from Johney Chandler of Henrietta.
At 7 p.m., winners of the sled races and lighted parade will be announced, followed by the recognition of June Griffin, who is in Washington D.C. to help decorate the White house, and other guests.
A countdown to the lighting of the Clay County Courthouse begins at 7:20 p.m. Once the lights are turned on, children are invited to visit with Santa Claus inside the Strategic Realtors office, located on the southwest corner of Bridge and Gilbert streets.
Several food vendors will be on hand during the festivities. Outside Strategic Realtors, on Gilbert Street, Henrietta’s Project Graduation will serve hot cider. On Bridge Street will be turkey legs and sausage on a stick from Joe’s Smoke House, Kettle Korn, fudge and nuts from The Pecan Shed, hot chocolate served by the Cub Scouts and french fries made fresh by Jeff Pierce.
Shops around the square will be open late Saturday night.
That is if the weather holds out.
As of late Tuesday, National Weather Service forecasters predicted a 60 percent chance of rain Saturday, but chances drop to 30 percent for Saturday night. The low is expected to be around 34 degrees.
According to the NWS Hazardous Weather Outlook, a storm system will arrive over the weekend, bringing widespread cold rain.
Tuesday, the chamber decided the show would go on in spite of any light or intermittent precipitation. In case of a downpour, a rain date has been set for the following Saturday, Dec. 10.