Christmas on the Prairie, set for Saturday, is a citywide tradition in Prairie City that’s been going strong for 20 years.
This year’s event will feature the popular Ornament Hunt, with a drawing for a prize basket that includes gifts from each of the town’s merchants.
People can find ornaments at local businesses, the American Legion Auxiliary bazaar at the school, post office and DeWitt Museum and Sumpter Valley Railway Depot.
DeWitt, which is open for free that day, will also have a children’s art exhibit and an auction of decorated trees to benefit the museum.
Photos with pets, by donation, will be available from 9-10 a.m. at the Teen Center, at 145 W. Front St., benefiting the nonprofit Hope 4 Paws.
The famous gingerbread houses for children, also at the Teen Center, are available for “construction” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until supplies run out.
This will be the fifth year Anna and Tom Smith have provided the handmade gingerbread houses. They started with 100 five years ago, and this year they’ll offer 135.
The “labor” of love starts in August, when they buy the ingredients. Then it takes one week for Tom to make the dough, and one week for Anna to roll it out and bake it. Their daughter Rose from Portland also helps bag up candy used to decorate the houses.
Anna said she started offering gingerbread houses to add an activity for kids during the festivities.
“I thought this would be nice for the kids to have something to do,” she said. “Someone suggested graham cracker houses, but I said no, they want to have a full gingerbread house.”
For four of the five years, the couple provided everything out of pocket — this year’s cost is $1,500. She said people offer donations, but she never asks for money.
“It’s not a cheap thing, but I enjoy doing it,” she said.
Another highlight for the kids is a visit from Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Teen Center. The cost is $5 for an 8-by-10-inch photo, or people can bring their own camera.
There will also be a children’s scavenger hunt with a couple age divisions, which will begin at the Public Works building at 2 p.m..
There will be an FFA dinner, which includes petite sirloin steaks with all the trimmings, at 5 p.m. with an auction at 6 p.m. at the Prairie City Community Center.
Wanda Winegar, who is organizing the event along with a committee of merchants and volunteers, said another fun event will be decorated vintage trailers at the blacktop near the town reader board. She said more trailers are expected this year, but the number depends on the weather.
“I would like to invite everyone to come up,” she said. “It’s a good chance to get some Christmas shopping in and visit with friends, and most merchants are having drawings, special sales and refreshments.”
For more information, call Winegar at 541-820-3675.