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Christmas parade returns for second year

“Christmas at the Depot” returns to Bismarck on Saturday evening. Along with the usual activities that includes lighting the Christmas tree and visits with Santa Claus, the evening will also feature the second annual Christmas parade.

The parade beings at 6 p.m., with Santa lighting the city Christmas tree at the depot following at 6:30 p.m. An Ugly Sweater Fun Run will also be held at 7 p.m. According to the event planners, the parade route starts at the Bismarck Preschool and then left on Center St. It will proceed to the left on East Main to Walnut.

Bismarck Mayor Seth Radford said the parade was such a success last year that the planning committee decided immediately that it needed to become an annual part of the festivities.

“This is a great thing for our community,” he said. “With everything that’s going on, everybody has something special to enjoy. Whether it’s watching the parade or the lighting of the Christmas tree or enjoying Christmas snacks in the depot, it’s a great night for everyone.”

This year’s Christmas event at the depot is especially meaningful for another reason.

“This is the 100th year for the depot,” Radford said. “The city had restored the depot —which is a landmark in the town. We had other depots before, but they all burned down. This summer we’re also going to be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Bismarck”

Reminiscing about the beginning of the Christmas celebration, Radford said, “Originally, the entire event started up at the school, where the fountain is now. Dennis Mayberry Sr., myself, Jim and Wilma Peterson, the ladies at city hall, Alan Williams, and Cotton Williams got together and started a tree lighting ceremony up there.

“It was a really neat thing that one of them had seen somewhere else and decided we should make it a tradition here in Bismarck. Years prior to that we used to have Santa Claus ride in a fire truck. So that’s how he actually entered the scene by coming up to the school.

“After some time of doing it up there, the Williams had planted a tree in memory of their father. It’s grown and it’s still lighted every year. The Williams still take care of the lighting.

Festivities at the depot — including the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting co-sponsored by the city and Bismarck Chamber of Commerce and Depot Committee — begin following the parade.

“Dennis and the board at that time, I’m not sure exactly who, and the chamber decided to move it down to the depot and had the tree planted. Bismarck is a railroad town.”

Along with the parade and Christmas tree lighting, the event will feature holiday refreshments and music. There will also be the annual visit by Santa Claus who’ll be listening to Christmas wish lists, posing for photos and giving out goodies to children who drop by to pay him a visit.”

Everyone attending is encouraged to bring a camera.

Joseph Cerchi prepares to serve hot popcorn at Bismarck's renovated train depot as children look on with anticipation. Christmas at the Depot begins at 6 p.m. Saturday with the parade, followed by the lighting of the city Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children throughout the evening.

Joseph Cerchi prepares to serve hot popcorn at Bismarck’s renovated train depot as children look on with anticipation. Christmas at the Depot begins at 6 p.m. Saturday with the parade, followed by the lighting of the city Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children throughout the evening.

Bismarck will be holding its second Christmas Parade at 5 p.m. Saturday. Other traditional events — the lighting of the city Christmas tree, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as snacks at the old train depot — will follow immediately afterward. The public is cordially invited to participate in the festivities.

Bismarck will be holding its second Christmas Parade at 5 p.m. Saturday. Other traditional events — the lighting of the city Christmas tree, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as snacks at the old train depot — will follow immediately afterward. The public is cordially invited to participate in the festivities.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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