Hometown Christmas a huge success for Ontonagon residents

Kali Katerburg/Daily Mining Gazette Wrapping up Ontonagon's Hometown Christmas, local businesses and organizations participated in the yearly parade.

ONTONAGON — A weekend of Christmas festivities descended on downtown Ontonagon for another year of fun. The 17th Annual Ontonagon Hometown Christmas celebration turned out to be one of the biggest the community has ever seen.

Organizers attributed the large turnout for the events, and to watch the parade, to the unusually warm weather.

“I think we may have had only one other Hometown Christmas that had nicer weather,” said Bob Burrows.

Burrows was one of the original volunteer committee members. His wife, Carmen, now serves on the committee.

From Thursday to Sunday night, the village celebrated with food, music, dances, fireworks, tree trimming, and more. The weekend of festivities came to an end Sunday with a traditional Ontonagon parade and chance to share wishlist suggestions with Santa after he rode into town aboard his trusty fire truck.

The events were completely volunteer run and supported by the community businesses and organizations who participated. More businesses were encouraged to participate next year to make the Hometown Christmas even more spectacular.

The parade included brightly lit floats, music and a plethora of goats, horses and at least one donkey.

One resident attended for the first time with family.

“My daughter and my granddaughter were here so I had to come down and see what my granddaughter’s reactions were,” said Bill Solberg.

There were mixed reviews.

“She cried when the firetrucks started blowing their horns,” Solberg said. “But [she] cheered up with the animals.

“It gets everybody out, the whole thing [Saturday] with the band and everything was nice too, a lot of people around.”

Following the parade, winners were recognized for the best display in commercial, open, and children’s categories.

Taking first place honors in the commercial division was Aspirus-Ontonagon, followed by Peninsula Graphics. Sonco and Aspirus Medi-vac tied for third.

Winning the open division was the White Family with the theme ‘White House.’ Taking second and third in the Open Division was the Bauer Family and the Dream-catchers.

Getting first place in the children’s division was the Wascher Family. They had two work horses pull a wagon that was decked out in holiday splendor with children on board. The local Girl Scout troop and the Critter Ranch joined together to get second place. The Ontonagon High School Band per formed on a wagon also decked out in holiday splendor and took third.

Residents and guests decorated a classic Christmas tree in the downtown on Saturday adding durable ornaments and stopping to snap family photos.

In the business and residential Christmas lighting contest, the businesses competed in both indoor and outdoor decoration. Getting first place in the business outdoor lighting was Peterson’s Cottages, Strong Dental took second and Syl’s took third.

Winning the business indoor Christmas decorating was Strong Dental, followed by Syl’s and Forever Flowers.

The residential Christmas decorating contest had two categories. Traditional was won by Missy and Morgan Picotte. Ginny Langdon and Cheryl Sundberg took second and third respectively. The Griswold theme contest winner was Jim Bauer, with Joe Szymanski and Donna Pollard taking second and third.

Lisa McGuire took first in the Reindeer Run as Darrel Bradley took second. Andy Pestka had fun and won the Drunken Santa Character.

“$500.00 was donated to Hometown Christmas for this,” said Annette Trail of the Hometown Christmas committee.

Morin Fireworks of Baraga put on a Fireworks show on Saturday night that also had a huge attendance.

“The Hometown Christmas Committee would like to thank everyone for a successful year!  For all of you that have participated in fundraisers, made donations, given up your time for events to be possible, run errands for us, etc. we could not do it without you,” stated Trail. “You are what makes Hometown Christmas successful and we are very proud to be a part of a community that cares enough to go the extra mile to bring the Christmas spirit to Ontonagon.”

Plans are already underway for the 18th Annual Ontonagon Hometown Christmas, which will take place Nov. 30 thru Dec. 2, 2018.