Fourth Polo Christmas Festival garners ‘great turnout’ despite chilly weather

Santa Claus greets youngsters after arriving in downtown Polo on Dec. 3 to hear their wish lists and enjoy the fourth annual Polo Christmas Festival.

POLO — Polo Christmas Festival organizers say there was a “great turnout” for the fourth annual event, despite the chilly weather.

“It’s hard for me to judge sometimes because I’m running around, [but] overall, I think we had a good turnout,” said Megan White, Christmas Festival Committee secretary. “Overall, another success.”

According to WunderGround.com, temperatures were in the 20s most of Dec. 3, which was when the festival took place. At times, the temperature dropped below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Events started at 8:30 a.m. and ran till around 8 p.m.

One of the first events was breakfast with Santa Claus at Faith United Methodist Church, where “lots of doughnuts were eaten and photos taken,” White said.

“I’d like to give a shout-out to Santa and Mrs. Claus,” she said. “We know this is a busy time. We look forward to having them, and I think they look forward to coming as well. They’re just so kind.”

Santa and Mrs. Claus reappeared at 5 p.m. for the lighting of the community Christmas tree in Paul’s Park on the corner of Mason Street and Division Avenue.

Children enjoyed seeing the Clauses arrive on a large Polo fire engine, White said. Also a “huge hit” with kids was Crossroads Community Church’s Winter Carnival, she said.

The craft and vendor show was held in Polo Community High School this year.

“I think the new location really helped us with more space,” White said. “Just seeing some Facebook comments, they were really impressed with some of the unique vendors there. There were a lot of handmade Christmas trees and decorations — that sort of thing.”

More businesses were open this year than in the past, including some of the newer businesses, she said. The Polo Area Senior Center returned to the lineup, and more than a dozen trees were decorated within, and there was musical entertainment throughout the night, White said.

“It was a nice way to get in that holiday spirit,” White said.

As they were in previous years, the Cargill Horse & Wagon Rides were “a big hit with everyone,” she said. When speaking with the Cargills, White said they commented on how nice it is to give rides around smaller towns.

“They can scope out some of the decorated houses and lights beforehand and kind of edit their route,” she said.

The historical trolley tours of Polo, led by the Polo Historical Society, also garnered a good turnout, White noted. There are plans to bring that back again next year, with an updated route highlighting different buildings and areas of the city.

Kayla Blum, of Polo, won $875 in the 60/40 raffle.

Holiday Home Decorating Contest

The deadline for entering the Holiday Home Decorating Contest was extended to Dec. 9, White said.

Any business or home within the Polo School District can enter. Registration forms and more information can be found at the Polo Chamber of Commerce website, PoloChamber.org.

Community voting will take place Dec. 10-17, White said.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has seven-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards, including a first place award for investigative reporting from the WNA.