20th annual Spirit of Christmas brings holiday joy to Lakeside

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The Spirit of Christmas on Maine Avenue was held this past Saturday, Dec. 1 in historic Downtown Lakeside. It went off without a hitch, like some holiday miracle movie on the Hallmark Channel. Rain had threatened the 20th annual event, creating some tense moments for the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce as it had to make a last-minute decision whether to cancel the event.

The Chamber checked the weather forecasts and decided to go for it. The town was rewarded with some cold and cloudy skies, but no rain – a perfect holiday setting.

The Spirit of Christmas on Maine Avenue was held this past Saturday, Dec. 1 in historic Downtown Lakeside. It went off without a hitch, like some holiday miracle movie on the Hallmark Channel. Rain had threatened the 20th annual event, creating some tense moments for the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce as it had to make a last-minute decision whether to cancel the event.

The Chamber checked the weather forecasts and decided to go for it. The town was rewarded with some cold and cloudy skies, but no rain – a perfect holiday setting.

The long running, hometown event still has that small town feeling, even after two decades. There may have been a few more folks attending, but the gathering of family and friends is pure Lakeside. Familiar and smiling faces shook hands and gave hugs as they enjoyed each other’s company in the crisp night air.

Maine Avenue was closed to vehicular traffic as nearly 100 booths set up along the street to celebrate that most wonderful time of year. Many businesses remain open, bringing chairs out front and chatting with passersby. The center of activity was the Christmas tree that the Chamber had placed and decorated in the courtyard of the historic Olde Community Church.

Santa Claus and the missus arrived promptly at 4:30 p.m., driven in style by local egg businessman Frank Hilliker and led down Maine Avenue by the Lakeside Royalty ladies and the El Capitan High School Jazz Band.

A select team of Lakeside fire fighters did the honors and flipped the switch to light the town tree. Afterward, local students performed on the street and on stage, carrying the sight and sounds of Christmas throughout the historic business. It was as if the best part of our past had slipped forward briefly, for just an evening.

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