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Wadena shoppers, browsers celebrate 42nd Christmas Festival

Amber Horstmann sampled a tempting dip at a booth operated by the owners of "A Spice Above" Saturday during the Christmas Festival. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal1 / 5
Brainerd's Don Ealy found himself pushing a big stroller Saturday morning in the Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary School gym. Triplets Emmett, left, Grace and Isaac Ealy kept dad busy. Don was backed up by Grandma Bonnie Ealy, center and his wife, Angie. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal2 / 5
Marcus Edin served customers as they examined merchandise Saturday morning at the Wadena Christmas Festival. Brian Hansel3 / 5
Abby Worden wore a colorful dress as she performed a number on the piano with the assistance of her teacher, Lea Snyder, Saturday morning in the Memorial Auditorium for the enjoyment of Christ Festival visitors. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal4 / 5
Derek Holden and Lydia Griffin of Park Rapids had a caricature done Saturday morning at the 42nd annual Wadena Christmas Festival. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal5 / 5

The Wadena community treated Christmas lovers to an early taste of the holidays Saturday at Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary and the Memorial Auditorium.

Eighty-four booths festooned the Elementary gymnasium, while another 19 filled the Memorial Auditorium as the Wadena Christmas Festival took center stage for the 42nd straight year.

In addition to having Christmas gifts piled high to attract shoppers of all ages, the seven-hour event offered entertainment and food.

The "Just for Kix" and "In Motion" dancers performed, along with piano students learning the keys from Lea Snyder, Julia Whynott and Mary Beth Brockpahler. The entertainment also included a visit from Wadena Royalty - Gabi Ross and Taylor Dirks.

The Cyber Cafe Bake Sale was held in the Elementary cafeteria and the Wadena Chamber of Commerce, which put on the event, offered food from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were on hand to provide candy and greet children. Doug Curtis was put to work drawing personal caricatures, and Beth Kern painted faces.

Outside in the cold, crisp November air Lester Bain offered horse-drawn carriage rides. Friendly Rider offered free rides to and from the festival.