Night of Lights, Brunch with Santa coming up
Youngsters visit with Santa during the Rotary Brunch with Santa in this file photo.
| November 21, 2023 1:30 PM
Holiday festivities kick off in Columbia Falls the first weekend in December with the Night of Lights parade Friday, Dec. 1 and the Rotary Club’s Brunch with Santa Saturday, Dec. 2.
The annual holiday parade down Nucleus Avenue starts at 6 p.m. and floats should like up at the north end of Nucleus at 5 p.m. with judging at 5:15 p.m. To register, look for the form on the Columbia Falls Lions Club’s Facebook page and next week at Glacier Bank.
Santa will be at the Coop after the parade.
Meanwhile, members of the Columbia Falls Rotary Club are pounding away in Santa’s workshop collecting donations from local businesses and community leaders to put up for silent auction at the annual “Brunch with Santa” fundraiser Dec. 2.
“Technically we’re pounding the streets, not manufacturing Christmas gifts in Santa’s workshop,” said Rotary President Cliff Seiler. “The success of the club’s annual fundraiser depends upon the generosity of the community,” he said, “not Santa’s elves.”
Other than during the outbreak of Covid-19, the brunch has been an annual event, anticipated by children and parents for 14 years.
Timber Creek Village hosts Brunch with Santa with doors opening at 9:30 a.m. to welcome children and families to talk to Santa and enjoy a meal while gathering with friends and family in the spirit of Christmas. Throughout the morning is a silent auction where bids are accepted for dozens of donated goods and services from area businesses and individuals.
Kids under 12 are free to enter with an adult, for whom tickets for the meal are $10. All proceeds return to the community by means of the charitable work of the Rotary Club.
It’s the club’s primary fundraiser of the year, said Seiler, which goes to support the Boys and Girls Club; CASA for Kids; Flathead CARE; afterschool sports programs and dictionaries to third-graders; WildcatSpeech/Debate team, and Boy Scout Troop 1941 to name just a few of the local organizations benefitting from the proceeds.
Donations and club-member dues also support international projects, such as polio immunization and work in Guatemala providing clean water in rural communities.
Club members also donate time and labor to the Food Panty and Land-to-Hand, both in Columbia Falls. In addition, the club sends high school students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy in Montana each summer, and provides a $500 scholarship to RYLA campers who continue their education beyond high school. This has amounted to over $6,000 since the club started making those donations.
Club Secretary-Treasurer Roger Elliott said also critical to brunch’s success are the in-kind donations and support from local businesses, such as food from The Nite Owl, Tien’s, Laurie’s Deli, Three Forks Grille, The Uptown Hearth, and Outlaw Diner. Many banks and businesses provide sponsorships with donations ranging from a $100 to $1,000 or more in cash.
“This event, and the club’s work throughout the year, couldn’t happen without all this community support,” Elliott said.
Businesses and individuals who have not been contacted and wish to donate, or for more information, call Seiler at 406-897-2517 and leave a message, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be made via PayPal on the club’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CFallsRotary.