If you’ve ever longed for the simplicity of a small town holiday, where people still wish you a Merry Christmas as they pass you on the street, you might think of visiting Whitley City, Kentucky. This time, every year, main street is turned into a “Winter Wonderland” for the city’s annual Christmas festival, a scene as idyllic as any Hollywood movie ever created, where one expects to see Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney (whose hometown is just a few hours to the north) pass by on a float, bedecked in glorious Technicolor red, singing the sounds of the holiday.
Tomorrow marks the 10th Annual Winterfest for the city, where, despite temperatures predicted for the low thirties, the festival’s organizers estimate one-thousand people could line the city’s sidewalks at 6pm for the lighted Christmas parade, as always, grand marshaled by Miss Winterfest and closed by an appearance by Santa Claus and his sleigh.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of children will get to whisper their good tidings in Santa’s ear, as he appears for “Pictures with Santa” in Jackson Heritage Park, just down from the community’s courthouse, where a large Christmas tree sits to mark the occasion, lighted just a week ago by Brittany King, this year’s Miss Winterfest, and Douglas Stephens, the county’s Judge-Executive.
Pictures with Santa is a free event for all children, as organizers hope to spread a little Christmas cheer. But it’s not the festival’s only good deed during the holidays, which, perhaps, makes it more notable than others. The winning parade entry will get to choose a charity to whom a financial contribution will be made, and on December 23, 2011, the board of directors will host “Banquet of Blessings,” an annual community dinner they serve every year, making sure members of the community are well-fed during Christmas.
For more information on the festival, information on participation, or how you might contribute to events, visit the festival’s website here.