The weather didn’t feel very Christmas-like last night, but the Christmas spirit was definitely there.
Downtown Manchester was buzzing as the community kicked off the holidays with the Chamber’s Annual Window Walk and Static Christmas Parade.
And with temperatures at near-record highs on Thursday, it may very well have been the warmest Window Walk in 34 years.
That’s Pastor Tony Ede with First Lutheran Church in Manchester. The church entered a little vintage red pickup truck in the parade, giving everyone an opportunity to climb up in the cozy bed of the truck piled in warm fuzzy blankets and get their photo taken in the perfect Christmas setting.
Nearly a dozen vehicles and floats were lit up in Christmas lights up and down East Main and South Franklin Streets. Brehme Drug had a display set up in front of their store, all decked out in this year’s Window Walk theme of “Christmas Movies”.
You could find several Grinches up and down the parade route, but the Grinch in Whoville set up on South Franklin Street sponsored by TheStone Church stole the show last night. People of all ages stood in line to get their photo with the Grinch, who acted like he just stepped out of the movie.
That’s Kyle Palmer of Dyersville, who says it was great to be back at the Window Walk after growing up with the event as a kid.
Some of the storefronts downtown featured live window scenes, the Manchester Lions Club was handing out free chili (while it lasted) and Santa & Mrs. Claus were visiting with kids right inside F&M Bank. And people were voting for their favorite Static Christmas Parade entries with dollar bills and spare change. The Chamber announced the parade winners on Friday morning, with Henderson Products winning first place, TheStone Church receiving second place and KMCH third place. A total of $450 was raised through the voting last night, with the donations going to Operation Santa Claus. New co-chair Kathy Swift says they’ll be handing out gifts to around 85 families on Saturday, so the donations are very much appreciated.
And a special addition to this year’s Window Walk – an open house honoring longtime Manchester Mayor Milt Kramer, who is retiring at the end of December after serving as mayor for the past 47 years. A steady stream of well-wishers poured into the City Council Chambers for four hours last night to tell Mayor Milt “thank you”.
Honoring the mayor, stores bustling with shoppers, Christmas lights strung through the downtown, the sound of Christmas music filling the streets… it’s the quintessential small town celebration. And Brehme describes it best.
photos courtesy of Janelle Tucker/KMCH; aerial photo courtesy of Matt Wieser