By Brent E. Frazier, mayor
City of Pelican Rapids 

Who could have ever foreseen such favorable weather conditions for the 2022 “Old Fashioned Hometown Christmas” in Pelican Rapids, as a couple of weeks ago, the weather had turned very cold with daily snow accumulation and harsh north winds?

The Pelican Christmas festivities November 25-26 would still take place, but probably not as well attended due to this cold weather.

And then, the weather and temperatures took a turn for the better, and the events were conducted under some of the warmest and most favorable conditions in memory, but let’s back up and give some credit where credit is due.

There were many people who volunteered their time and talents to make this gala event such a huge success.

Members of the Pelican Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Merchants on the Move, civic organizations, churches, nursing facilities, and individuals (including Santa Claus) who wanted to promote our community.

You all know who you are, and the city and community truly ‘thanks you!’

The Friday following Thanksgiving Day has become the evening of the Horse Parade in Pelican.

Over the past few years, other events have been sprinkled into this day to attract people.

This annual event has become a tradition. People from many, many miles away will come early to partake in shopping, eating, and conversation.

As no parking is allowed on Broadway between the two sets of traffic lights after 5 p.m., attendees will park their vehicles several blocks away, dress in their warm clothes and take the trek downtown. 

This year’s events were centered around the vicinity of Historic City Hall.

Homemade chocolate chip cookies and hot apple cider were a big draw and a treat to many who visited.

A “Kids’ Scavenger Hunt,” “Coloring Contest,” and “Photo with Santa” were a huge success for many a child—some accompanied by mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa. 

The smiles from the children told the story of the fun that they were experiencing that warm Friday afternoon. And a smile on the face of a child, especially when approaching the Christmas Season, in turn, brings a smile and contentment to any adult.

In a nearby parking lot, hay wagons pulled by teams of horses on a sunny afternoon in November proved to be a pleasant time for many people to ‘hop on board’ to rest, relax, and think about the wonderful time with family and friends on this day.

At 5:30 p.m., the “Lighting of the Christmas Tree” took place near the VFW cannon and commemorative plaque. Several people were in attendance, and they were then asked to lift their voices in harmony for approximately thirty minutes of sacred and secular Christmas music.

With the main event slated for 6:30 p.m., the sidewalks began to fill and then overflow with those who came to see the parade. As each float passed by HCH, the driver, the horses, their location of origin, and their business sponsor were announced for all to hear. A big improvement this year was the addition of more sound speakers, which were located many feet to the north and south.

As the floats were announced, cheers and applause rang out through the night! The commitment of these teamsters with their horses, who traveled from distant places, can’t and shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Candy was handed out to children who lined the street, and phone cameras were held high to capture a photo or video to send along to someone that could not attend who lived in a nearby location or far away country. These were photos and videos of beautiful horses and brightly lighted floats.

Some spectators were adorned in holiday attire, lighted neck decorations, and costumes. And yes, seen among the crowd was a reindeer named Rudolph, who had arrived here from West Virginia!!

A wonderful evening of nice warm weather truly contributed to the enjoyment, and the festive mood was amplified by the smiles, handshakes, hugs, warm hands, and warm hearts of family and friends.