Christmas is coming to Merrill
BY TINA L. SCOTT
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Can you hear the melody in your head? With Sunday night’s snowfall decorating the Merrill area in a blanket of white, the scene is set for this weekend’s holiday festivities. Just look at all the ways Merrill is celebrating the magic of Christmas!
Christmas wreath lighting event
Trinity Lutheran Church at 107 N. State St. in Merrill kicks December off with their Christmas wreath lighting event on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, from 6-7 p.m. A local brass ensemble will provide music, the community is invited to join in prayer, and Trinity School’s PTO will provide free hot chocolate and cookies.
On Saturday, Dec. 2, at 10:00 a.m., the O’Tannenbaum Tour begins at St. Stephens Church in Merrill with a delightful trip down Gingerbread Lane to see the tour of lighted and decorated Christmas trees. [See separate article in this week’s edition.] The tour continues on Sunday.
Free Optimist holiday movie event
The Merrill Noon Optimists organization is sponsoring a free showing of the movie Wish on Saturday, Dec. 2, with showings at both 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Kids get in free and admission for supervising adults is just $2.
Trinity Lutheran Church marks the second day of December with a second Christmas event. This one is their free annual Living Nativity in the church parking lot. Come to see the Christmas story acted out with live animals and live people portraying Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, and wise men from 4-7 p.m. The Dorcas Society will host a bake sale in the church basement.
Merrill’s annual Christmas Parade
Merrill’s 33rd annual Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. The parade will travel the same route as in previous years, starting on S. Genesee St. and going east on W. Main St. toward the Lincoln County Courthouse, to E. 1st St. going past the T.B. Scott Library, then traveling against the normal flow of traffic on Polk St. and E. 2nd St. continuing east to Mill St., then turning south on Mill St. and then east on Main St. to Court St. Santa will stop at the Courthouse lawn near Court St. for the downtown Merrill Christmas tree lighting. Parade units disperse after they pass Court St.
(The location of the tree is on the Courthouse lawn this year instead of in Banker’s Square.) Lighted holiday floats will delight parade-goers and Santa Claus has promised to make his annual appearance at the end of the parade.
Park Manor Luminaria and Bell Tower gathering
After the Christmas parade, Merrill residents and visitors are invited to drive through the neighborhood behind Aspirus Merrill Hospital for the annual Park Manor Luminaria. Automobiles can turn their headlights off and follow the glow of candlelight for a magical tour. (Remember to turn your headlights back on when you exit the area.) Wagon rides will also be available through the neighborhood, departing from behind Bell Tower Residence. And many hearty souls will enjoy taking a walking tour of the lights. Afterward, gather in Assisi Hall behind Bell Tower (by the back parking lot) for hot cider, coffee, cocoa, cookies, and popcorn. Santa will be stopping by for photo opps, too.
Knights of Columbus Breakfast with St. Nick
The Merrill Knights of Columbus will present their Annual Breakfast with St. Nick in the St. Francis Xavier School cafeteria, 1708 E. 10th St. in Merrill, on Sunday, Dec. 3, beginning at 7:30 a.m. A delicious breakfast will be served, and children can visit with and have their pictures taken with St. Nick at no charge. A free will offering will be accepted, and proceeds will be used to benefit church and school programs at St. Francis and St. John the Baptist.
More holiday events, and more chances for the kids to see Santa are coming in the weeks to come. Watch the Merrill Foto News for updates, scheduled events, and Santa sightings.