By Polly Keary, Editor
Monroe’s annual holiday kick-off event, Light Up Monroe, has never had a financial sponsor before. This year, it has five, said Annique Bennett, Director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event each November.
So that means that this year the celebration is going to be larger than ever before.
The event will go from 1-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 and this year, Jerry Senner, Director of the Western Heritage Museum, is contributing an antique tractor to take as many as 20 people at a time through the downtown on a free hayride from 1-4 p.m.
Also new this year are visitors from Casa de Arboles, an alpaca farm near Wagner Road.
The “fine fiber farm” is bringing an alpaca petting zoo from 1-7 p.m. Alpacas, indigenous to South America, are prized for their thick, soft wool. At the petting zoo will be “reindeer alpacas,” or baby alpacas adorned with reindeer horns.
“Mrs. Claus will be there, too, and people can pet the alpacas and get pictures with them, and there will be handmade alpaca things,” said Bennett.
Parents looking for a great holiday photo of their kids with Santa will have a chance to get one at the Masonic Lodge.
“The real Santa will be there from 1-7 p.m.,” said Bennett. “We are so excited. It’s going to be a studio setting, and you can take your own photos, and there will be hot cocoa and kettle corn.”
The main sponsor of the event is Open Road RV, new to Monroe and occupying the old Sno-Country Ford building.
That company will have an RV on hand in which people can warm up.
Turtletraxx will provide DJ music all day, and at 3 p.m. live music will begin, with performances from the Monroe High School Choir and local women’s choir Voices Northwest. The high school band is a regular performer at the annual event, as well.
At 5 p.m., the countdown to the main event will begin, and the mayor-elect will light the town Christmas tree.
The tree once again will be in front of Golden Nails at the corner of Lewis and Main Street. The Masonic Lodge, which also houses the Chamber of Commerce and which will have the Santa visits and cocoa and kettle corn, is located across Lewis Street half a block to the south.