LUSK – Hallmark movies always show the small town with happy children, couples walking hand-in-hand, and more Christmas lights than any one town could possibly need. Its definitely a fantasy, or is it?
Saturday night, Lusk exemplified all the best things about small towns with their second annual ※Chilly Night in Lusk,§ sponsored and coordinated by Lusk ROCS and the Lusk Farmers＊ Market. As residents and visitors alike began to gather along Lusk＊s Main Street, lights in front of businesses twinkled on with the early winter dusk. Chili cook-off participants who had been working on their chili batches since 3:00 p.m. began to prepare for hungry testers. Businesses participating in ※This Little Light of Mine§ made sure their coordinated lights were switched on and several of them chose to remain open late.
Around 4:30 p.m., the head elf himself made an appearance in front of Bloomers to hear the wishes of local children and fulfill parental wishes of their progeny getting pictures with Santa. Mild weather contributed to the solid turn out for the evening＊s festivities. Unseasonably warm temperatures meant eventgoers could enjoy all the outdoor activities and still observe social distancing recommendations if they so chose. Most took advantage of the $5 charge to try some chili, roast a marshmallow and enjoy hot chocolate.
A North Star made an appearance at the far end of Main Street before the overpass courtesy of the Wasserburger family. Then at 6 p.m., the Christmas parade was enjoyed from Prairie Pines extended care facility up to the 100 block of Main. Local business owners decorated floats for the Parade of Lights.
Santa arrived in true Beach Boy fashion in a red convertible. Motel owner Tom Wasserburger also channeled the Harley Santa of David Stoddard＊s songs for the parade. Demo derby cars, a gingerbread house on a rat rod, a tow truck all lit up and emergency responder vehicles decorated rounded out the parade.
Following the parade of lights, the ROCS community Christmas tree was officially lit by Mayor Doug Lytle. Winners of the chili cook-off were announced, with Justin Collins and Larry Murphy taking the top spot. Subway was in second place, and the Lusk Town Council took a respectable third. The light parade winners were Will Boldon and Heidi Cardwell with their gingerbread house, Tom Wasserburger as Santa on a Harley and the Lusk Volunteer Fire Department with a decorated truck.
At the end of the evening, children went home tired from dashing up and down Main street, eating chili and too much candy. A few out-of-town guests commented that they felt lucky to have caught this event in Lusk and it reminded them of what was good about American small towns. They truly ※felt like they were in a Hallmark movie.§ Attendees all went home with a little more Christmas spirit.