Christmas in St. Maries will return next month in full force, a year after being canceled at the last minute because of health concerns.

The annual event, organized by the St. Maries Chamber of Commerce, will be Saturday, Dec. 4. It will feature parades, craft fairs, contests, vendors and a visit from Santa Claus himself.

In fact, Santa will be coming to a different part of town this year. He will arrive at Brickwall Beauty Bar at 12:30 p.m. the day of the event, which is a change from past years. Photos will be available from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the salon, 905 Main Avenue. Letters to Santa can also be written and sent down the street at The Paperhouse.

The other major addition to Christmas in St. Maries is a second site at Shift and Grind coffee shop, where vendors and fire pits will be set up at the same time as the other festivities downtown. Several other new vendors and parade entries will also join the event for the first time this year.

“It’s like your last time to see all your friends before the snow comes,” said Serena Crane, who is coordinating the event with the Chamber. “It’s a community gathering, so we’re really excited, because it was canceled last year. This year we’re going full steam ahead.”

Though the event is still over two weeks away, several registration deadlines are coming up this month. The first is the “Lite-em Up” house decorating contest. Judging will be completed the night of Dec. 4, and the contest winner will receive a $200 Chamber gift certificate. To register, contact Tabby Belles at 907-232-2792 before 5 p.m. this coming Monday, Nov. 22.

The deadline for the annual ugly sweater contest for businesses is Wednesday, Nov. 24. First place (the ugliest, funniest, most creative and tackiest sweater) will receive a $30 gift certificate, second place $20, and the best business team will receive $50. Judging will take place during the day on Dec. 3 and winners will be announced the next day.

To participate in the Christmas In St. Maries festival itself, vendors and parade participants are asked to register by Friday, Nov. 26. The registration process makes it easier for the Chamber to organize foot traffic along the festival area for the “Stroll On Main Street.” Parade entries will be judged on creativity, composition and use of lights. First, second and third place winners will receive prizes of $300, $200, and $100, respectively. Judging will begin at 4:45 p.m. at Archie’s IGA.

The business decorating contest will be judged in the same categories (creativity, composition and use of lights). Registrations for that event are due Monday, Nov. 29, and winners will also be announced Dec. 4.

The Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the ugly sweater contest, the Stroll On Main Street, the parade and the business decorating contest. Application forms for each event are available through the Chamber either in person at the Hughes House and Blue Goose Sporting Goods or online on the organization’s Facebook page or website, They can be dropped off at the Hughes House or by emailing

Several other traditions will also return this year, including wagon rides, storytime with Santa at the library, the children and pet parade, Christmas music and the Charlie Brown Christmas tree contest. A full schedule of events for Christmas in St. Maries, with times and locations, will be in the Gazette Record Dec. 1. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at its website or by calling (208) 245-3563.

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