Christmas In The Cloud Brings Santa, S’mores, and Smiles
Story and photos by Tracy Maike Kehr
The River Country Chamber of Commerce of Newaygo County and the businesses of White Cloud collaborated to create a memorable, free downtown event for everyone.
I began my day watching two sets of horses and wagons gearing up in the Newaygo County Building’s North parking lot. Smiles were already being found as the horses were grinning ear to ear, ready to pull jolly riders singing Christmas carols down Wilcox Avenue.
After a short greeting I told the horses...
...I had to go because it was almost 11am and I was on my way to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for lunch with Santa.
St. Joseph’s is the first stop of Santa’s White Cloud tour.
I mean, think about it. Hot dogs & chips, Sloppy Joe’s, Macaroni and Cheese on the menu while telling Santa what I would like for Christmas?
Sign me up!
My Dad instructed me to text him the menu upon arrival and soon Jim Maike was on his way to church! Dad cannot resist a one dollar hot dog and chips. St. Joseph’s cooking crew made it a delicious, dad-approved lunch for the community while the 10 & 12 year old girls that were with me enjoyed the game areas with face painting and fishing.
We gathered back at our family holiday s’mores and hot chocolate spot at the old gas station on the corner of M-37 and Newell St. The fire was hot and ready for marshmallows, which was good because the first groups of festive party goers had already arrived.
Many took to the seasonal spirit by wearing elf sweaters and their favorite Santa hat. I found a perfect red sequined tree skirt at TJ Maxx and wore it like a cape! It was fun to dress up and enjoy the day.
From the garage I had a good spot to centrally walk to each of the many businesses that participated in this event. I decorated sugar cookies with my son and his friend at the Newaygo County Prevention of Child Abuse building while learning a little about what they do and how they help the community.
Soon after, I watched Brutus the Puggle stamp his paw on a Christmas ornament at the Animal Wellness Center. Brutus was unsure about his warm paw being wet and touching the cold clay but he put on a brave face and the painless procedure was complete.
Brutus came, he saw, he stamped his paw.
Following the path of holiday celebrating, we walked over to hear the story of the Reindeer Food at Stage Door Players. Denise Gray told a lively story that the children listening would not soon forget! From all the smiles and laughter making paper wreaths at Rosenberg’s to the marshmallow snowman at Granny’s Kitchen, each business had something special for their visitors.
While visiting with family and Santa at Maike’s Bakery, my daughter Sophie said, “Today was filled with Christmas spirit. There is JOY from everyone! I’m so happy, my bells are jingling!”
She was one of those folks who wore their favorite elf sweater. Hers has 8 jingle bells on it and they, indeed, jingled all day.
At 4pm the Eagles hosted a community-wide lasagna dinner to benefit the Friends of the Library. It seemed more like a quaint dinner with friends. We ate amongst decorated Christmas Trees and wreaths that you could bid on. My bidding focused on a tree decorated with red sparkle ribbon and hanging crystals which is now lit up and making my entryway festive.
I know from the many smiles that I saw walk and ride past me, everyone enjoyed their Christmas in the Cloud.
Tracy Kehr is an artist whose work can be found locally at the NCCA-Artsplace Holiday Market. She resides in White Cloud with her husband and artistic partner Mike and their children Gavin and Sophie.
Visit the Dragonfly Garage facebook page to see some of the incredible things she can do with glass, stones, wood clay and any other materials that might provide inspiration at the time.
"Tracy Kehr is an artist whose work can be found locally at the NCCA-Artsplace Holiday Market. She resides in White Cloud with her husband___ and their children Gavin and Sophie.
Visit the Dragonfly Garage facebook page to see some of the incredible things she can do with glass, stones, wood clay and any other materials that might provide inspiration at the time."