Children and families lined up outside the PSC Construction building before the doors even opened for the opportunity to get their photos taken with Santa Claus, while others made their way to see Santa’s reindeer further west on Washington Street.
Children gathered candy and other treats from different characters such as a bee in front of Washington County Bank and the Grinch who stole Christmas but shared treats, scaring some and entertaining others. Several stores along Washington Street opened their doors Thursday for the 18th annual Sugarplum Festival.
A free soup and chili supper was available at the South Fire Station, offering coffee and hot cocoa to warm visitors along the way.
Hayrack rides were also available, including from Jenson Shires, the reason Brenda Reunholl comes to the event.
“We usually come out every year and that’s a big highlight for me,” Reunholl said. “It is so fun getting the s’mores treat and see all the kids enjoying (the festival). It is just such a thrill.”
Dean Jenson of Jenson Shires was driving the horses. He said they have participated in the festival for the past few years.
“We want to give back to the community," he said. "We are the largest Shire breeder in North America. Nobody knew about us, so we decided to come and participate."
For some families, attending the Sugaraplum Festival is a tradition.
“Our son wanted to see the reindeer the most,” Eric Taylor said. “It is our first Christmas event this year. It is our fourth year since our son was a newborn (when we first attended).”
Lydia Ulmer is in town visiting family and took the opportunity to attend the festival.
“We want to support the community and I want to get my kids out to be involved in the community,” she said. “There’s not a lot you can do with a 2-year-old and 8-month-old they can start interacting with people.”