Holidays bring on ‘lights, cameras and action’ in Hartington
HARTINGTON — Despite drizzling rain, Main Street in Hartington was buzzing with activity Friday evening as the community gathered to celebrate its 18th annual Hartington Candlelight Parade.
“All week, everyone you would meet was excited and jabbering about the Friday night parade,” Karma Schulte said.
Schulte is the chairwoman of the Hartington Chamber of Commerce and pushed her brainstorm of the theme for this year’s parade through the Candlelight Christmas committee.
“About five years ago, we decided to have a theme for the parade,” Schulte said. “It just seemed to make it easier for people to think of float ideas.”
This year’s theme, “Hartington Lampoon’s Candlelight Christmas,” offered dozens of float ideas as the parade audience laughed and cheered through the raindrops.
About 50 floats came prepared with lighted-dead trees and motor homes in festive array, including plastic tubing following the RV down the street with a sign, “Toilet is Out of Order.”
The floats came from Hartington residents, businesses and other area communities, and so did the spectators.
The evening festivities included “Uncle Eddie’s Favorite Food Joints” and a collection of food vendors. Santa made his way to town and a bell choir entertained.
There were vendors in the Hartington Senior Center and a silent auction for Cedar County Cares, face painting, kids’ coloring contest, a baking contest and a chamber countdown card giveaway.
The Friends of the Library created a story walk with storyboards displayed in various businesses and a teen dance ended the night.
Parade organizers also jumped into the “National Lampoon” movie theme by noting “Griswold Approved Open Houses,” which offered hot apple cider, snacks, hot chocolate, cookies and holiday drink sampling, up and down the parade route.
The community of Hartington also celebrated 45 years of economic development in the largest Cedar County city. A gathering was held in the newly renovated Hartington Hotel, with several area dignitaries, including Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, congratulating the community for their progressive projects.
Chris Miller, Hartington Economic Development president, spoke of the group’s meager beginnings 45 years ago when it raised funds to purchase property south of town.
That site eventually was developed into the community’s first industrial park.
Today, the group, with the same forward thinking as its creators, is looking at a second industrial park after having created a successful housing development.
Other successful projects include a new athletic complex and new swimming pool.