By Sharyn Cornelius
Palo Cedro’s Country Christmas Celebration on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 was blessed with clear and windless weather, though the temperatures began to fall as the evening wore on. Chamber President Joey Ortez was the honoree chosen by her organization to flip the switch to turn on the Christmas tree lights this year, and musical performers played and sang to standing room only crowds all night long in the big white tent in the center of the Palo Cedro Village Shopping Center parking lot. North Cow Creek School’s popular “One Stop Shop” Christmas craft fair, with several booths manned by students selling wonderful, creative gifts, was situated in the south end of the parking lot, and members of the Millville Grange rang the bell for the Salvation Army in front of Holiday Market.
New this year was a friendly Gingerbread Man (aka Jeremy Dutcher of Best Little Sandwich Shop) who joined the two elves—Sage Swain and Lucy Walker–in greeting guests and bringing good cheer to all.
The Nash Ranch’s beautiful, lighted train provided rides around the parking lot, delivering parents and children to Santa Claus who was holding court in the windmill and bringing them back again. The Hawes Farm’s Cow Train arrived later and began giving rides to the delight of the little ones.
At 6:00 p.m. the Foothill High School Drum Corps led a parade around the parking lot. They were followed by an equestrian on a beautiful white horse, five or six antique tractors adorned with strings of lights, and a fire engine and cadets wearing turnout gear from Foothill’s Fire Science Program.
The crowds seemed a bit sparse until about 6:00 p.m. as if most of the families decided to have dinner at home before attending—a good choice, it turns out, because there were very few food vendors on hand this year and they were selling snacks, not meals. I saw only the Kettle Corn trailer, vans from Dutch Brothers and Hartline Fresh Salsa, and a booth by Scout Troop 85 selling popcorn balls and cookies.
The musicians who braved the cold to entertain the crowds were: the Foothill High School Choir, the Foothill High School Jazz Combo, Madelynne West from Foothill High, Maddox and London Williams from APL Academy, Deziree Woodruff from Cypress School, Chloe Robbins from Stellar Charter School, Jaycee Greene from APL Academy, and Sami Jo aka Samantha Meyers currently performing throughout Shasta County at multiple events.