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Christmas on the River launches the holiday season in Chester

  • Four-year-old Gunner Hartman, of Perryville, with Santa and Mrs. Claus after Santa's arrival at the Chester riverfront via the Port of Chester towboat "River Hawk" on Dec. 2.

    Four-year-old Gunner Hartman, of Perryville, with Santa and Mrs. Claus after Santa's arrival at the Chester riverfront via the Port of Chester towboat "River Hawk" on Dec. 2.
    Pete Spitler/Herald Tribune

  • It was a festive atmosphere on Dec. 2 for the Christmas on the River Lighted Parade.

    It was a festive atmosphere on Dec. 2 for the Christmas on the River Lighted Parade.
    Shields Photo

  • The Yankey Family's Griswald-themed entry celebrated the popular movie "Christmas Vacation."

    The Yankey Family's Griswald-themed entry celebrated the popular movie "Christmas Vacation."
    Shields Photo

  • The parade did not have a specific theme this year, allowing for a variety of entries with lighted displays.

    The parade did not have a specific theme this year, allowing for a variety of entries with lighted displays.
    Shields Photo

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus wave from their cottage in the Christmas on the River Lighted Parade.

    Santa and Mrs. Claus wave from their cottage in the Christmas on the River Lighted Parade.
    Shields Photo

  • From left, Chester Recreation Director Patti Carter, Mayor Tom Page and Jingle Bell Fun Run/Santa Shuffle Coordinator Brandy Maes.

    From left, Chester Recreation Director Patti Carter, Mayor Tom Page and Jingle Bell Fun Run/Santa Shuffle Coordinator Brandy Maes.
    Shields Photo

  • Children pose for a photo in front of No Regular Gathering (NRG)'s float in the Lighted Parade. NRG won first place for its entry.

    Children pose for a photo in front of No Regular Gathering (NRG)'s float in the Lighted Parade. NRG won first place for its entry.
    Shields Photo

  • People participate in the Jingle Bell Fun Run that preceded the Lighted Parade.

    People participate in the Jingle Bell Fun Run that preceded the Lighted Parade.
    Shields Photo

  • The Jingle Bell Fun Run/Santa Shuffle drew a total of 33 participants. Gilster-Mary Lee provided hot cocoa, brownies and cookies for participants.

    The Jingle Bell Fun Run/Santa Shuffle drew a total of 33 participants. Gilster-Mary Lee provided hot cocoa, brownies and cookies for participants.
    Shields Photo

 
 
updated: 12/5/2017 3:56 PM

The temperature may not have reflected it, but it was Christmastime in Chester last weekend as the city celebrated its 29th Christmas on the River event.

There was plenty to see, eat and do during the three days of activities in various parts of the city. Nearby, the Pierre Menard Home held its Christmas Festival that featured 19th century traditions.

"It went really well," said Chester Recreation Director Patti Carter. "Beautiful weather, nice crowds, the parade was a big hit.

"We learned a lot from it and will grow with it next year."

Multiple social media users commented on the success of the Lighted Parade, which did not have a specific theme this year. First place and $100 went to No Regular Gathering (NRG), while Yankey Family Christmas Vacation took second place and $50.

Casey's General Store won third place (and $50) with its entry.

In the City Department division, the Chester Beautification/Tourism Commission won a free lunch and honorable mention went to River Ratz Cycling. Sponsors of the parade were Buena Vista National Bank, Uptown Barbers and MMLT Holdings.

"Not having a theme definitely helped," Carter said. "We got our letters out a little earlier and I think people understood that you don't have to have an elaborate float, it's the lighting that makes the difference."

A total of 33 runners participated in the second annual Jingle Bell Fun Run and new quarter-mile Santa Shuffle. Both races began at Chester City Hall, with the Fun Run turning around at Chester High School and the Santa Shuffle turning around at Van Zant Street.

Ten-year-old Gabrielle Coffman, of Chester, was the winner of the Fun Run with a time of 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Hot cocoa, brownies and cookies for participants were provided by Gilster-Mary Lee.

Multiple attendance prizes were given. Anna Bendorf, 2, of Chester, won the Youngest Reindeer award. Jake Huffman, of New Athens, won the Snowball Champ prize of $25.

He guessed closest to how many snowballs (marshmallows) were in the cookie jar, there were 626.

A second order is being made for Fun Run shirts, which are $10. Payment must be turned into Carter at city hall by Friday.

Merry Merchants prize winners were Darla Tressler, Shannon Inman and Toni Diercks. All received $25.