Cold snap nips celebration

Peabody Main Street had big hopes for the second annual Prairie Christmas celebration Saturday. But a winter cold front complete with rain, sleet, ice, and wind blustered across the state and held the "Bells, Boots, and Buggies" Christmas event in its grip all day.

"We were disappointed, of course," said Peabody Main Street director Kristen Hooper. "The committee had met several times a month until about September and then they began meeting weekly. A lot of time went into planning, finding entertainers, and creating something unique for people to do and enjoy while showcasing our historic downtown."

Several parade entrants canceled early in the day and by 11 a.m. the parade itself was off the list of events for the afternoon.

"The color guard from Fort Riley canceled and several people called to say they wouldn't be putting a float in the parade," said Hooper. "Then I spoke with the man we had lined up to give free buggy rides around town and he was afraid to get his horses out on the ice. We couldn't blame him. The Sweet Adelines bowed out and we were wondering if there would be anything at all going on by afternoon.

"As the weather deteriorated, we just decided to concentrate on those things that we could provide for local people and chalk the rest up to typical Kansas weather — always an unknown," she said.

The Kansas Historical Society Boot Exhibit in the Ann Potter room of the library, the soup luncheon at the Morgan House, the cookie walk, and silent boot auction drew good-sized crowds. The table scapes had lots of lookers, while kids' crafts, story hour, and several other events also were popular.

The Downtown Showdown was moved from Peabody Market parking lot to Marshall Auction Warehouse. Teams of three contestants from various businesses spent half an hour with Mark Penner learning how to rope a "dummy steer." Each contestant was allowed three attempts to lasso the steer and the team with the best score, the Jackrabbit Hollow team of Pam Lamborn, Glenda Mackey, and Justin Rempel, was declared the winner of a traveling trophy.

"Everyone who attended that event had a good time," said Hooper. "The participating business owners and employees were terrific sports and many of them took a lot of ribbing, but it was fun and drew a nice-sized crowd."

The chuckwagon supper also drew good numbers, which Hooper said was "kind of amazing since by then it was dark and people had to get out in really crummy weather to come down to the senior center and eat with us." About 75 people turned out.

"That is down a bit from what we had last year, but still we were pleased," Hooper added.

The committee will have a final review meeting before Christmas and then begin planning in January for the 2008 celebration.

"They tell us at Main Street training that all promotions and special events should be in the planning stages for at least six months," said Hooper. "But that doesn't include Christmas. They say we should start planning the Christmas promotion the day after Christmas! So we do."

Anyone interested in serving on the Christmas promotion committee may contact Hooper at the city building, 300 N. Walnut in Peabody or call 983-2174.