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Yule Love Our Country Christmas

Celebrate with Cookies, Cocoa and Yappy Hour

By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, Photos by City of Eagle

Country Christmas is a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season with family, friends, and neighbors,” says Caitlin Straubinger, Recreation Coordinator, City of Eagle. “Every year downtown Eagle is transformed into a Christmas village, with horse drawn carriage rides, choral groups singing Christmas carols, a market for holiday gifts, holiday themed crafts for children, and more…it’s magical!”

“Country Christmas is one of my favorite events to plan,” says Jenessa Hansen, Community Enhancement Coordinator, City of Eagle, Parks & Recreation. “Patrons brave the cold and come to the park to enjoy the market, some hot cocoa, live music and the other great activities. If you’re curious about how it feels to pet a live reindeer, be sure to visit Country Christmas, a free event put on by the City of Eagle, on December 10 from 1- 6 pm. Festivities at Country Christmas at Heritage Park in downtown Eagle include a tree lighting ceremony at 5:37 pm, a kids activity tent where local businesses will host activities and crafts (open from 1 to 5 pm), and of course Santa will be there. Help Santa this year and bring your lightly used winter items to Creekside Bible Fellowship (across the street from Heritage Park) for the annual Coats for Kids.

Straubinger points out two new components to the celebration–“Cookies and Cocoa” and the “Reindeer Ramble.”There is a small admission fee to taste test cookies and hot cocoa and vote on your favorites at the “Cookies & Cocoa” tasting event at Creekside Community Church. Cookies will be available for purchase.

After petting the reindeer and conversing with Santa, you may want to get a little exercise. The Reindeer Ramble, a 2 mile walk/run, begins at 4:15 pm outside in the parking lot of Creekside Bible Fellowship. Participants will receive a jingle bell and can walk or run with their families and friends on the marked course, ending downtown in time for the Christmas tree lighting. The Reindeer Ramble costs $19 and includes entrance to the cookies and cocoa sampling. Participants can register online at http://bit.ly/reindeerramble or www.cityofeagle.org/recreation. Reindeer Ramble fees support future recreation programs.

“My favorite part of Country Christmas is the reindeer!” enthuses Christina Coats, Administrative Assistant, City of Eagle– Parks and Recreation. “It is amazing to get to pet real reindeer right here in Idaho instead of having to go all the way to the North Pole.

For those animal lovers who also love dogs, check out the holiday edition of Yappy Hour on Saturday, December 3 from 3-5 pm at Merrill Park..“Yappy Hour is an event where we put up a mobile pop-up dog park at Merrill Park to give residents an idea of what a dog park in Eagle would be like,” shares Coats, “and there will be a special guest…Santa Paws!” Coats’ 4 year old border collie/setter Raleigh “can’t wait for the holiday edition of Yappy Hour!”

Straubinger shares an insider tip about Country Christmas. “If you want to ride the horse drawn carriage, arrive early and reserve your spot!”Carriage rides are free and last about 10-12 minutes and run from 1-6 pm. “This year we are piloting a mobile waiting list where folks will receive a text message when it’s their turn on the carriage, so the earlier you arrive to sign up, the better your chances of getting a turn. Sign-ups will begin at 1 pm near the intersection of State St. and 1st St.”

“I love the hometown feel that Country Christmas brings to Eagle,” sums up Hansen. “Local schools bring their children choirs to sing carols, and we end the evening with live music that puts everyone into the holiday spirit.”

“I love that Eagle has such a great sense of community and it really comes out during events like Country Christmas!” concludes Coats.

More information about Country Christmas and all City of Eagle programs and events can be found online at www.cityofeagle.org/recreation