Lisa Keech

Holiday spirit rolls into region

Trail, Fruitvale and Rossland hosting seasonal festivities this weekend

Watching a Christmas parade usually means getting all bundled up with hats, gloves, scarves and more, but not for the Mystic Dreams Belly Dancers.

Lisa Keech, member of the belly dancing group, will be performing at this year’s Santa’s Candy Parade on Saturday and just like every other year, all of the dancers’ winter wear will be hidden beneath their costumes.

“We just wear long underwear under everything,” she said. “We all have our coats on right before the parade starts and then we take them off.”

The weather forecast for Saturday’s parade shows a little snow and a high of 4 C – a bit warmer than last year’s freezing temperatures. All the long johns in the world couldn’t have kept Keech and her fellow dancers warm in the 2013 parade.

“Last year, it was freezing – it was -25 or something,” she said. “I wore three skirts, plus long underwear underneath them and some warm boots. Nobody can see under there anyways.”

When Christmastime comes to mind, belly dancing isn’t generally the first thing people think of, but the Mystic Dreams Belly Dancers try their best to stay in theme.

“We wear Santa hats with lights on them and we mostly wear red and white in our costumes as well, to make it a little more Christmas-y,” she said.

“Then we play Christmas music out of the back of our vehicle that we decorate. It is so fun. If you pick the right piece of music you can do anything.”

The belly dancing performance is just one of the attractions in Santa’s Candy Parade at Silver City Nite, the all-day holiday celebration in downtown Trail.

The parade will follow the usual route from Helena and the Esplanade, up Bay Ave, left on Farwell, left on Cedar and then down Eldorado back to the Esplanade. It starts at 4 p.m. sharp.

Bringing up the rear of the parade line will be Santa Claus, who will be rolling into town on a fire truck, giving his eight reindeer a break before Christmas Eve.

Andrea Jolly, communications and event planner with the City of Trail, says the city enjoys hosting events like Silver City Nite because it brings the community together to celebrate the holiday season.

“The city wants to provide a welcoming environment so we can celebrate the pride in our community,” she said. “This event is an opportunity for locals, non-locals, organizations, community groups, businesses and more to support each other while enjoying some holiday spirit.”

The celebration will feature activities and performances from local groups, including Greater Trail Minor Hockey hosting a street hockey game, Christmas carols from the St. Michael’s Choir and a chance to visit with Santa after the parade is finished.

There will also be hot chocolate and hot dogs available for purchase with a donation.

The city is including downtown businesses in the spirit of the holiday by hosting a Christmas tree decorating contest.

Trail residents aren’t the only ones who will be enjoying the holiday season in the streets on Saturday.

Rossland has its own Christmas celebration with the 21st annual Rekindle the Spirit of Christmas event.

Jody Blomme, executive director of the Rossland Chamber of Commerce, says one of the highlights of the annual event is the Reindeer Prance, where kids get a chance to act as Santa’s reindeer in a march down Columbia Ave. at 1 p.m. At the end of their parade route, the kids will get their pictures taken with the man in red.

To round out the day’s events, the City of Rossland sets up a Christmas tree in Harry Lefevre Square where there will be Christmas carols and a lighting ceremony.

“One of the big traditional parts of the day is the city’s Christmas tree,” said Blomme. “At 4:40 p.m., we have the lighting of the Christmas tree and there are carollers from the Rossland Light Opera Players and the Rossland Glee Club, and then the lighting of the tree.”

Blomme says the timing of the tree lighting was deliberate to give Trail residents a chance to make it up to Rossland after the Silver City Nite parade.

The rest of the Rossland Rekindle event includes carol sing-a-longs, a luncheon at the legion, cake bingo at the Miner’s Hall, chestnut roasting on an open fire, bake sales, retail sales and much more.

Blomme says one of the best things about the annual festivities is the focus on tradition.

“The wonderful thing about this event is that it is a 21-year tradition,” she said. “Much of it stays the same.”

In Fruitvale, they will be kicking off the holiday season with their annual Jingle Down Main event. Starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, the village will have vendors selling delicious homemade food, hot chocolate and hot dogs.

Shoppers will enjoy in-store specials from Fruitvale retailers and kids can visit Santa’s Village while their parents listen to Christmas carols.

Once bellies are full and warmed up with hot chocolate or apple cider, sledders will be barrelling down the Matterhorn Toboggan Run and for the more leisurely, there will be horse-drawn wagon rides through the Village.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Fruitvale Memorial Centre will be transformed into a movie theatre, showing How to Train Your Dragon 2 and a Christmas story reading by the ladies at the Beaver Valley Library. The movie starts at 2:30 p.m. and admission is by donation of a non-perishable food item or a new toy.

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