Posted on December 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Isaac and Michelle Hurst brought their two children to Florence Park on a mild and calm Saturday evening, Dec. 5.
The Hursts were among the hundreds of local and area residents who enjoyed the Stewartville Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Winterfest celebration that evening.

Harrison Hurst, 3 1/2, and his younger brother Hudson, 7 months, took a few moments to pose for a picture with Santa Claus, a special guest for the festivities.

“This is something to do to get outside and enjoy the nice weather,” said Isaac, who graduated with Michelle with the Stewartville High School class of 1997.

“Who doesn’t like lights and Santa Claus? This is something to do with the whole family.”

A bit of holiday cheer: Elizabeth Wright of Stewartville brought her daughter, Autumn, a third grader at Central Intermediate School, to Winterfest. Elizabeth said she attended the event so that she and Autumn could experience a bit of Christmas cheer.

“I’m really impressed with how friendly everyone is,” Elizabeth said. “It’s impressive that a community can put something like this on. That doesn’t happen everywhere.”

Autumn enjoyed playing on the playground in a well-lighted Florence Park. She also took a look at the floats that were parked for the Chamber’s stand-still parade along Lakeshore Drive.

“The floats, I think they’re pretty cool,” Autumn said. “There are snowmen and other stuff, and it shows winter. And the bright lights, I think they’re pretty.”

“It was wonderful”: Melissa Sue Leuning, president of the Chamber of Commerce, loved the 2015 edition of Winterfest, even with temperatures in the mid-40s and no snow on the ground.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “I just love it when the whole community comes together for a celebration.”┬áLeuning was especially pleased with the annual Winterfest Tea & Luncheon, held at the Civic Center on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 6. In all, 97 local and area residents attended, not including volunteers, she said “I was absolutely ecstatic,” she said. “It’s about the fellowship among old neighbors and new friends. It’s a pretty special time to connect.” The tables at the Tea & Luncheon were elegantly designed and fashionably set. “They were gorgeous,” Leuning said. “A lot of time and thought went into each table.”

Mayor loves Winterfest:
Mayor Jimmie-John King also enjoyed Winterfest, especially the stand-still parade, the Boy Scout Chili Feed and the Tea & Luncheon. “Except for the lack of snow, I don’t think you could ask for a better Winterfest,” the mayor said. “The stand-still parade was wonderful, and there was a great turnout for the Boy Scouts for chili and hot dogs. And at the luncheon on Sunday, there was a great turnout.”

“Except for the lack of snow, I don’t think you could ask for a better Winterfest,” the mayor said. “The stand-still parade was wonderful, and there was a great turnout for the Boy Scouts for chili and hot dogs. And at the luncheon on Sunday, there was a great turnout.”

The city of Stewartville, with a float that included a city truck and a Christmas tree with a star on top, won the award for the best float in the stand-still parade. Residents who voted with their pocketbooks placed $81 inside the city’s bucket. The city donated the money to the eighth graders from Stewartville Middle School who are raising money for a trip to Washington D.C., King said.

“Because there’s no candy!”
The mayor heard comments from two kids who critiqued the stand-still parade. “A couple of the kids said, ‘This isn’t a

“A couple of the kids said, ‘This isn’t a parade,’ ” King said. “And I said, ‘Why not?’ and they said, ‘Because there’s no candy!’ ” The city cooperates with the Chamber of Commerce to put on Winterfest, the mayor said.

“I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce for all the hard work they put in every year,” he said. Members of the Chamber of Commerce’s Winterfest Committee included Gwen Ravenhorst, Chamber administrator; Melissa Sue

Members of the Chamber of Commerce’s Winterfest Committee included Gwen Ravenhorst, Chamber administrator; Melissa Sue Leuning, Chamber president; Cheryl Roeder, Stacy Schimmel and Jennifer Martin.

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