By JOSH MCDONALD,
Staff Reporter and CHANSE WATSON, Managing Editor
OSBURN — Holiday cheer was widespread this last weekend as the city of Osburn held its annual Christmas Festival.
Kicking off last Thursday with a tree lighting ceremony, the festival was a real treat for anyone who participated in the many events.
The next day, the Silver Valley Senior Center in Osburn showed off their annual Mini Festival of Trees fundraiser for the Meals on Wheels program. Individuals and businesses donated and decorated miniature artificial Christmas trees or wreaths and then were raffled off.
In the spirit of giving, the Meals on Wheels program is a great benefit for many in the Silver Valley.
Program director Julie Crnkovich stresses that the group struggles for funding a majority of the time.
“One of the great aspects of the Meals on Wheels program is that no senior will ever be turned away from the program because of the inability to pay for a meal,” Crnkovich said. “However, that also means that the Meals on Wheels program often finds itself desperately trying to stay financially viable on a month-to-month basis. Contrary to much thinking, the local Meals on Wheels program does not receive vast amounts of federal aid, and other government aid that may be received is very limited. Therefore, the Silver Valley Meals on Wheels program greatly depends on the generosity of individual and community donations, as well as various fundraisers throughout the year.”
The Festival of Trees is one of the biggest fundraisers the Silver Valley Senior Center organizes and Crnkovich believes it’s rewarding for the groups that sponsor the trees.
“This is a wonderful way to build office rapport and for family members of all ages to come together to work on a fun and rewarding project,” Crnkovich said. “Creativity is definitely encouraged.”
Following the Festival of Trees, the city of Osburn capped off the day with a live nativity skit and other Christmas themed skits. Carolers also made appearances in town to spread some more Christmas spirit.
Saturday was the big day that sported several more fun Christmas events. Kids had the opportunity to have breakfast with Santa at Mom’s Vintage Eatery early in the morning. At noon, the Osburn Club held an ugly Christmas sweater party. The day culminated after more Christmas skits in the afternoon with the Osburn lighted Christmas parade down E. Mullan Avenue. Vendors were present throughout the weekend, but were slightly dispersed due to the weather.
Event organizer Candyce Gilmore was pleased with how the event went.
“I think it went very well,” Gilmore said. “We had a nice parade (and) breakfast with Santa went great!”
With this year’s festival now in the books, Gilmore is already looking ahead by planning to do more with the city and adding on some help.
“We could really use volunteers for next year,” she said.
With the extra help, she hopes to have even more Christmas lights up next time to really make the city shine. That being said, Gilmore is incredibly appreciative of the help she and the Christmas Festival Committee had this year.
“We need to thank the whole community and we need to thank the city of Osburn. I really want to thank all the volunteers for their time and using their own money.”
If you are interested in helping out in the future with the event, contact Gilmore at Mom’s Vintage Eatery at 208-556-1668.
Regarding Meals on Wheels, there are trees on display at the Shoshone County Courthouse that are being raffled off as part of the fundraiser. For more information about the Silver Valley Meals on Wheels program and for information on the Festival of Trees fundraiser, please call the Silver Valley Senior Center office at 208-752-1194.
All proceeds from the Festival of Trees goes to benefit the Meals on Wheels program that serves around 1,200 meals a week to homebound seniors, as well as seven congregate meals at various locations throughout the week.