Christmas events start this weekend

Jason Ferguson
The holiday season will be in the air this weekend with a variety of activities to get people into the holiday spirit.
The 30th annual Custer Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, at 5:30 p.m. This parade of lights signals the kick-off of the holiday season. The parade will begin at 8th and Mt. Rushmore Road and end at Way Park on 4th and Mt. Rushmore Road. After the parade, Santa will appear at Way Park for the Juanita Fish Memorial Tree-Lighting Ceremony. 
People interested in entering the parade should call the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce at 673-2244 or download a registration form at The deadline for entry is Dec. 4 and there is no fee. Awards will be presented for Best Use of Lights, Best Musical Entry and Judges’ Choice. 
Also on Dec. 7, Custer YMCA will hold its annual Santa’s Village Gift & Craft Sale. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Custer Jr./Sr. High School gym, with Santa Claus appearing there for photos from 1-3 p.m. Concessions will be served all day, with proceeds benefiting the Child Development Center.
Saturday is also the date for the annual Holiday Festivity at Custer Senior Center. The center’s music with local talent will begin at 2 p.m. with historic band instruments followed by a quartet (Kathy Larsen, Tom Pekarna and Paul and Nancy Nettinga), Bob Bohlmann (trumpet), Myrna Bohlmann (harp), Lois Wells (piano) and Archer and Audrey Vershure (piano and bells). 
Drawings for 20 holiday gifts will be held the first hour. Pearl Harbor Day will be remembered with a duet by Grace and Finn Bartlett.
A short, humorous play, “Santa, No, No, Not Me!”  written by Wally Steele has been added. 
At 3 p.m., the Sandstone Singers of Hot Springs will be at the senior center with an hour of Christmas music. 
At 4-4:30 p.m., the Pringle Players will perform at the senior center. Coordinated by Sheila Scanson, Ned Westphal (performed with Pegie Douglas’ Badger Clark Band), Carol Harvey and Ed Coates (mandolin) will play a variety of music.
The public is invited to this free program,
Art Expressions Gallery will host a holiday reception Dec. 6 from 4-6 p.m. showcasing the artwork of over 25 local artists, four of whom joined the group in the past six months. This is an opportunity to meet artists, sample some food and beverages and engage in conversation.
The four new artists, Mark Butcher, Camille Gregory, Adare Diers and  Curtis Bietz, will get special attention. Butcher, an accomplished stained-glass artist, creates hanging glass pieces and glass-decorated metal and wood pieces. Gregory is a photographer whose work covers landscapes and other subjects. Diers specializes in animal portraits in pencil and other mediums. Bietz works in wood and metal. His pieces range from metal wall sculptures to landscapes burned in wood.
These artists donated pieces that have been made into gift baskets which will be given away by drawing during the reception.
Questions may be directed to Jim Tiller,, 390-3878; Mary Jo Marcy,; Nancy Barker,; or Michael Ward,
The gallery has a tree decorated with hand-made ornaments created by its artists as well as many holiday-themed works.
The 1881 Courthouse Museum will have its annual open house Dec. 7 from 1-5 p.m. The event will include books, gifts, drinks and homemade cookies. 
Christmas means Custer Cash drawings, with many businesses participating. The Custer Area Chamber of Commerce is again partnering with the Hill City Chamber of Commerce to provide “Community Christmas Cash” that can be spent at participating Custer and Hill City businesses.
There will be three drawings done around 3 p.m. on Facebook Live  Dec. 6, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20 with names chosen from each drawing. 
On Dec. 6 there will be four $50 winners, with six more $50 winners named during the Dec. 13 drawing. The final drawing Dec. 20 will see four winners of $100.
The annual Christmas Tea at Custer Community Church Dec. 6 includes entertainment by Sandy Huffman, Lois Wells (piano/organ prelude at 1:50 p.m.),  Kathy Larsen, Tom Pekarna, Nancy and Paul Nettinga and Bob and Myrna Bohlmann. Featured speaker is Duane Martinz.
The choirs of St. John’s (Colleen Mahrt, director) and Custer Community Church (Sandy Huffman, director) will sing three Christmas selections.
The 18th annual community advent concert will be Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. at Custer Lutheran Fellowship. The show will feature a prelude by French Creek Folk at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and there is no charge. The public is invited.
Finally, the 27th annual Christmas For Kids will be Saturday, Dec. 14, from noon to 3 p.m. at Custer Jr./Sr. High School. The event is for all Custer County children up to age 10. There will be games and lunch and Santa and Mrs. Claus will hand out gifts.
Preregistration is required. Children can be registered at Lynn’s Dakotamart, Common Cents, The Lost Sock, YMCA Child Care Center, Custer Elementary, Fresh Start, Family Dollar or by calling Dani Schade at 517-5147.

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