Organizers of Pratt's Old Fashioned Christmas celebration may have hit on the right combination for a kid-friendly event. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with children as usual. New this year are a couple of free movies and live reindeer.
The reindeer won't be pulling a sleigh — they're saving their strength for the big trip — but they will be riding on a float, about the height of a flatbed trailer, so everyone can get a good look. The animals have spent the off-season at Hedrick Promotions, Inc., at Nickerson.
Old Fashioned Christmas is scheduled from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at the proposed City Park, Fourth and Main.
The movies, "Home Alone" (rated PG) and "The Muppets Christmas Carol," (rated G) will be shown at the Barron Theatre at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but the theater will be selling concessions.
About 3:45, or whenever the "Home Alone" movie finishes, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be escorted down Main Street by the Pratt High School Marching Band. They will be on hand to visit with children and hear their requests until the end of the event. If there are children still in line at 5:30, they need not worry.
"Santa never turns anyone away," promised Jan Scarbrough, executive director of the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce, which is in charge of the promotion.
Musicians and dancers will entertain the crowd throughout the afternoon. Miss Kansas Sloane Lewis will be on hand to sign autographs and visit.
Christmas will come early for the lucky winners of drawings. Walmart will provide a boy's bike, a girl's bike and an iPod for teens. A drawing for $500 in Chamber bucks will also be held.
At least 14 vendors have signed up for the afternoon. Pratt Regional Medical Center will again assist children in writing their letters to Santa, Pratt Public Library staff will help them make bookmarks, and Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center will host a "Gingerbread Lane Sweets" walk, similar to a cakewalk.
Hot chocolate will be available to take the chill off the afternoon and the firemen will roast peanuts. Children can board the Lions Club barrel train for a short trip around the area. .
In addition, Captain Kettle will make an appearance, to remind people that Salvation Army bell ringers will be out in Pratt during the holiday season, accepting donations to help local people in need. He won't be hard to recognize in the big red suit.
Lights on the park's cedar tree, downtown and throughout Pratt, including Lemon Park and the new display at Sixth Street Park, will be turned on at 5:30 p.m.
If the weather is unfavorable, events will be moved to the Pratt Municipal Building.
Several Pratt businesses will participate in a Holiday Open House from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18.
"It's an opportunity for shoppers to enjoy some refreshments, see what's new for the season and take advantage of some pre-holiday sales," Scarbrough said.
Participating stores include Skaggs Ace Hardware, Stitch by Stitch and Fashion Emporium, Memories, Bee Well Herbs and Natural Foods, Sue's Ultimate Embroidery, Simply Southwest, Sassy Sisters, The Flower Shoppe, Lisa's Western Wear and Maurices.