LUSK – A Christmas Bazaar, chili cook-off and tree lighting ceremony were just a few of the activities the Lusk community enjoyed over the weekend of December 3, 4 and 5. There is a reason small towns seem particularly welcoming during the Christmas season and Lusk is no different. The weekend kicked off the start of December by welcoming people to various activities that were planned by the Niobrara Homemakers, Lusk ROCS, Niobrara DOES and many downtown business owners.
The weekend started with the first evening of the Niobrara Homemakers Annual Christmas Bazaar. Moved online in 2020 to accommodate for the social distancing restrictions, the bazaar was back in full force with many vendors packed into the Niobrara County Fairgrounds auditorium, meeting rooms and hallways. Some vendors chose to set up and sell their wears from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. The next day the bazaar opened the doors at nine. DeeDee Reed also hosted an open house and shopping experience at Spirits Liquor and Lounge.
While the crowds were thinner than in years past, the renewing of friendships between vendors, the chance to visit with customers in person and the sense of holiday joy was not diminished. The Cloverleaf 4-H club served soups to raise money and the junior leaders helped with clean up.
As dusk fell the community shifted down mainstream to the fourth annual “Chili Night in Lusk” chili cook-off, marshmallow roast and Santa pictures. The Lusk Farmers Market sponsored activities including prizes through third place, dinner for $5 and free pictures with Santa Claus in front of Bloomers.
For $5 you could get a few bowls of chili or hotdogs while you strolled main street. Several businesses stayed open late. The winners of the chili cook-off were first place, Danny Bauer; second place Larry Murphy and Justin Collins and third place Tia and Phoebe Allbright.
At 5 p.m. the Lusk DOES Christmas Tree and Wreathe contest and fundraiser opened its doors. A Silent Auction and drinks were available with the auction starting at 7 p.m. after the Christmas Parade.
The mild weather provided a beautiful night for the lights to shine during the parade. First place was the Lusk Fire Department, second was Bootheel 7 and Buck Creek Freight, third was the NCHS FBLA/FCCLA, Rawhide FFA and Choir Caroling float.
The weekend’s activities were capped off with the official lighting of the town Christmas tree. After counting down the lights were plugged in to welcome the Christmas season.
As attendees drifted back to their parked cars, many packing tired children a feeling of gratitude floated through the town. Grateful for the opportunity to live in a small town in America and the sense that while there is still a great deal going on in the world that is uncertain and hard, for this one weekend, Lusk was given a break from all the politics, drama and frustration and simply allowed to enjoy their own Hallmark Christmas weekend.