Spreading Christmas cheer
<p>Scotty Hoffer, 12, checks his cell phone after the crowd cleared Friday night following the tree lighting ceremony at the Post Falls City Hall campus during the city's Winterfest event.</p>
<p>Bianca Dixon, with The Majestic Mountain Chorus, sings Christmas songs with the group in the city hall rotunda during the Winterfest celebration.</p>
| December 4, 2010 8:00 PM
POST FALLS - Megan Haler's eyes lit up when she decided what to make.
A reindeer, the 7-year-old Post Falls girl figured, would make the perfect family ornament this year.
She was among those who enjoyed an array of family Christmas festivities during Winterfest at City Hall on Friday night.
"For us, it's something different to do," Haler's father Brian said as he watched his daughter at work in the kids craft area. "It's a fun thing to do, especially as a family. The kids have been looking forward to this all week."
Roughly 250 people came to watch the lighting of the tree and the city plaza, sing Christmas carols, enjoy refreshments, listen to Mayor Clay Larkin read "'Twas the Night before Christmas" or give Santa Claus their wish list.
For Post Falls' Sheila Miller, it was a step back in time and a return to her roots.
"You know, there was a time when I had a bad attitude toward the holidays," she said. "But I remember growing up and Christmas programs were some of my fondest memories. It's events such as this that I remember.
This is coming back for me and enjoying the season for what it is."
Larkin, Post Falls Junior Miss Hailey Smith and Junior Miss court member Katie Soflay kicked off Winterfest by leading a countdown of the lighting outside.
Activities then promptly moved back inside to the warmth of the rotunda and first floor of City Hall.
"They have it set up really cool," said Post Falls 11-year-old Cassidy Wolf. "The people are nice, and it's great that they have activities for kids and with Santa."
Wolf's father Michael said he has made it to every Winterfest so far.
"You see a lot of friendly faces and it's a chance for me to see some of the kids I've coached," he said. "I love the community events. The Park and Recreation Department that puts this on is great. They're the best in the state."
Hayden's Tara Keith is going to miss the parade and lighting in that city tonight, so she decided to bring her kids, Emma, 4, and Owen, 2, to the Post Falls event.
"It's a good tradition," she said while her kids were getting a stamp on their hands. "The kids really enjoy it. It's better than going to the mall and seeing Santa there. This is more personal and the kids get excited about the lights."
Post Falls' Lynn Affeldt took in carols sang by the Majestic Mountain Chorus.
"This is really a wonderful gathering of community," she said. "It's good Christmas cheer."
Smith said she hopes residents will cherish the area they call home not only during the holidays, but throughout the year.
"This is a great community to live in," she said.