Newaygo Christmas Festival ‘17: Who Will Be The Honorary Chair?
By N3 Holiday Coverage Team
The Christmas Walk.
This Newaygo tradition has been charming visitors and community members alike for many years and remains the centerpiece of the sizeable seasonal celebration the town has become known for.
There are many among us who have taken that familiar Friday night stroll through the streets and shops with the only traffic being pedestrians and Bill Van Andel’s wonderful horse drawn wagons packed with people enjoying the night air.
“The downtown area provides a unique setting,” said Del Hirdes who chairs the River Country Chamber committee tasked with putting together the festival.
“The whole community comes together in so many ways,” he added.
Mr. Hirdes is also...
...the organizer of the incomparable collection of carolers who patrol the town bringing their good tidings to all who cross their musical path.
Many times it will be snowing and sometimes it’s even been a bit balmy. Most times there’s a chill in the air that gives the evening’s festivities a special kind of aura. From vendors like the folks roasting chestnuts on an open fire to the splendid array of merchants who roll out the welcome mat with goodies and drinks the Christmas Walk is a gentle journey that arouses the Christmas spirit.
.“The Christmas Walk isn’t owned by anyone,” said Colleen Lynema, River Country Chamber Executive Director.”It belongs to the community and exemplifies the spirit of Christmas. It’s what makes it so special.”
In keeping with that spirit each year at official opening of the Christmas Walk the Chamber honors a member of the community who has been instrumental in helping keep this enchanting event thriving by naming an Honorary Chairperson during the opening ceremonies held at 6pm at the Brooks Park stage.
We asked Del to share some of the reasons behind this annual tribute to a treasured community member and here is what he delivered:
Those two words are not spoken as often as they should in our world today. Many people work hard making outstanding contributions that make our community a better place to live. Some give contributions of leadership or financial contributions but, many are common acts that go unnoticed. These acts are done not to draw attention to themselves, they just do them because of their caring heart and love for the community they live in. Our community is a better place because of what they do.
The River Country Chamber Newaygo Christmas Festival Honorary Chairperson Award is given to a person or persons nominated by the community and approved by the Chamber Board as a way to say a heartfelt “Thank You” in a small way for the contributions they have made. Contributions that truly represent the “Spirit of Christmas and the strengthening of our community.
I always recall the ending of the movie 'It’s A Wonderful Life'. George Bailey is in trouble and his family, friends and people from town come to the rescue. You feel great when the movie ends. I get that same feeling when I think about Newaygo and the past and future recipients of the Honorary Chairperson of the Newaygo Christmas Festival Award.
These recipients make our community better, they are real life representations of the “Spirit of Christmas” and demonstrate a caring heart. “Thank You” to the many people that make our community and our world a better place to live. Today, let us all say, “peace on earth, good will to man” and may the Spirit of Christmas live in your heart, this day and all the year long.
Surely then it would be a wonderful life.
Come on out and join the fun on Friday December 2nd. And make sure you show up at the stage at 6pm to see who will be the latest member of our community to be feted for their festival contributions.
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