The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Christmas Stroll Saturday in Whitehall


December 6, 2017

It's once again time for the Whitehall Christmas Stroll.

The annual event will take place Saturday, December 9 with a variety of events downtown.

The day will kickoff at 9 a.m. with the Jefferson Valley Fine Arts Show at the Borden's Building.

The 2017 show will be honoring a longtime contributor to local arts, the late RaeCille Dawson. A huge wreath in honor of Dawson will also be for sale. Event organizer Michele Franich said Dawson was an art teacher at the schools in Boulder for over 30 years.

Franich said they will also be opening up to the show to high school students from Whitehall and Boulder. The winning student will receive a $50 gift certificate.

A raffle drawing for a print from the late Zach Babat is scheduled for 3 p.m. Also at 3 p.m. are drawings for a $50 gift certificate for an artist for the Silver Mine Gift Shop in Wisdom, and a $50 artist gift certificate for the restaurant in Wisdom.

Franich said the growth of the local art shows have been great since they started putting them on at major events.

The event will conclude at 4:30 p.m.

The annual Christmas Market is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Community Center. A gingerbread house contest and quilt show will also take place during this time. Both shows are new to the Whitehall Christmas Stroll.

""We came up with it about two months ago. I started looking at what other towns do during Christmas and found Gingerbread House contests," Chamber board member Jill Dove said. "It seems so festive and fun. I am hoping it will bring more people into the stroll to look at the creations as well give families a reason to gather and show off their creativity. We are really striving for the Stroll to be about families and our community."

Chamber assistant Ann Lawrence came up with idea for the show a few months ago when chamber members were trying to figure out what else ties in with the stroll atmosphere. Chamber board member Jill Dove said Lawrence has worked with Cozy Mountain Quilts to come up with rules and prizes. Cozy Mountain Quilts has also helped out with a partial donation of a quilt that will be raffled at the stroll.

Dove said the Quilt Raffle is to help raise money for the stroll to improve it for years to come as well as help with the cost of the Chamber building maintenance. Tickets are 1 for $5 or 4 for $20 plus a special ticket into another drawing for a table runner. Tickets can be purchased from A Insurance, Bloom Health and Wellness, Whitehall Drug and the Chamber. Tickets will also be available at the Stroll.

Youth crafts are scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Christensen School of Dance, Community Center, and Bloom Health and Wellness. Whitehall JMG students will be helping out with the crafts.

American Legion Post #24 and VFW Post #4603 will be hosting a chili feed from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Whitehall Community Center.

An open house will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Clearwater Montana Properties located at 401 E. Legion.

A scavenger hunt is planned from 1 to 3 p.m.

Also for the youngsters, Santa will be making an appearance at the Whitehall Community Library from 1 to 4 p.m. Hayrides are planned starting on Division Street at 4:30 p.m. Tree lighting and caroling is planned in Legion Park at 7:30 p.m.


Each year local residents come together to build wreaths for the Whitehall Christmas Stroll Wreath Auction. In its 19th year, the event serves as not only a fundraiser for the Whitehall Food Pantry, but also raises thousands of dollars for numerous local non-profit organizations.

The 2017 event will start with the silent auction from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Whitehall Community Center. The Live Auction will take place at the Mint Bar at 7 p.m.

The Christmas Stroll Wreath Auction is sponsored by the Whitehall Saddle Club, who uses the popular event as a way to give back to the community for all their help and support throughout the year.

The saddle club uses the event as a community service to help the food pantry and local non-profit organizations.

Local residents make all the wreaths, and 100 percent of the money each wreath makes in the auction is distributed to local non-profits as earmarked by the maker.

If wreath designated for Liberty Place sells for $20, then Liberty Place will get $20.

In 2015, the auction raised over $10,000 that benefited local organizations such as 4 Paws Animal Rescue, Jefferson Valley Hospice, Liberty Place, Pool Pals Inc., Rock Mountain Hospice, Rocky Mountain Rascals 4-H Club, Star Youth Fund, Super Stars 4-H Club, Whitehall Volunteer Fire Department, Whitehall Garden Club, Whitehall Girls Scouts, Whitehall Little Guy Wrestling, the Whitehall High School Senior Class, Whitehall Rotary Club and many more.

The only way the Saddle Club profits from the event is if a wreath maker designates them as the non-profit to receive the money earned.

Wreath can be dropped off December 8 at the Community Center between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The wreaths will be displayed December 9 throughout the Christmas Stroll. The community will vote on wreaths via donations of nonperishable food items (one can equals one vote) or by buying tickets at the wreath viewing area for $1 apiece of six for $5.

Saddle Club President Lonna Johnson said all money and food collected would be donated to the Whitehall Food Pantry.

As a result of the event, each year several pickup trucks of food are dropped off at the Whitehall Food Pantry just in time for the Holidays.

File Photo

Santa will visit the Christmas Stroll from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Whitehall Community Library.

A ticket will be given for each food item donated, and tickets will be collected at each of the wreaths. The top-three wreaths with the highest number of tickets, or votes, will receive a prize from the Whitehall Saddle Club.

The auction will have the added benefit of a silent auction, which will work as follows: All wreath voters will have the option of placing a silent auction bid. At the end of the day on Dec. 9 (5 p.m.) the "votes" (canned food donations) will be tallied. The top 30 wreaths will be set aside for the live auction. If any of the top 30 wreaths have silent auction bids, then the live auction will start at that bid amount.

All other wreaths (assuming there are more than 30 wreaths) will be sold to the highest silent bid determined at the 5 p.m. vote counting. Winners of the silent auction bids will then be able to pick up their wreath(s) at the Community Center at 5:30 p.m.


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