Dogs pose with Santa at Bigfork event

December 21, 2018

Bigfork went to the dogs Friday night as pups of all ages, sizes and breeds gathered with their humans to have their pictures made with Santa Claus and enjoy a community bonfire.

New to Bigfork this year, the bonfires provide residents across Bigfork and the Flathead an opportunity to enjoy a locally focused event, with stores staying open late for last-minute Christmas shopping and various organizations providing snacks, drinks and fun activities.

Despite the chilly weather, dozens of village residents took over Mill Street to meet fireside, enjoy s’mores and hot cocoa and introduce their furry friends to the man in red.

Armed with dog biscuits, Santa, played by Art Crane, showed off his dog-whispering skills, posing with each pooch and earning a few wet kisses.

Kids of every age found their own fun slipping and sliding down the icy street with new friends as Christmas carols played over the speakers.

Nova, a one-eyed, sweater-sporting pit bull, put on her best Christmas grin as she sat for her photo with her owner, Spenser Ryan, and friend Jordan Johnson.

Sitting atop his hay bale, Mochi the Shiba Inu displayed his best behavior for Saint Nick, greeting new friends and helping his owner, Samantha Henderson, and her mother, Sherry Henderson, pass out treats advertising their dog-grooming business, Hairdos Fur Hounds, in Bigfork.

After helping the Bigfork Innovations Group set up for the event, Kristen and John Caldwell brought their 5-month-old English shepherd Marli for her first-ever public outing.

“It’s all just about community,” Kristen said. “We just like to be here and hang out with our neighbors and our friends and our dogs and enjoy the holiday.”

The event materialized as a collaborative effort among various other community organizations that pitched in to sponsor, set up and volunteer.

The community bonfires began this year as a new way to invite locals to gather and enjoy their community during the off-season and celebrate the Christmas season together, according to Bigfork Chamber of Commerce President Rebekah King.

The next and final bonfire of the season is Friday, Dec. 21, and feature live reindeer from 5 to 7 p.m. on Mill Street next to Bigfork Anglers.

For more information, visit bigfork.org.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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