ELMWOOD – Addison and Bryson Jennings and Hadley Hinzmann were happy to color pictures of Christmas scenes at the Elmwood Public Library Saturday morning.
Hundreds of other people shared their smiles at one of the community’s largest events of the year.
Residents from across the region came to Elmwood for the Elmwood Murdock Merchants Association’s Holiday Extravaganza. People took part in more than a dozen activities across town during the day. Events took place in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Many visitors took advantage of historic hayrack tours that began at the Elmwood Grand Army of the Republic Hall Veterans Museum. Elmwood-Murdock teacher Jacob Shaffer and others in the E-M Future Business Leaders of America program guided guests on one morning and two afternoon tours. The route included 15 buildings and locations that had prominent roles in Elmwood’s history.
“I’ve been happy with the turnout,” Shaffer said after the first tour had finished. “We had more than 20 people with this first ride, which is a great number. This is a good event for the town.”
The hayrack tour began at the G.A.R. Hall and stopped at the Elmwood Christian Church, Bess Streeter Aldrich House and sites of the original mill, bank and railroad/depot. Visitors also learned about the general/grocery store, physician offices, Elmwood Leader-Echo newspaper, theater, old United Methodist Church, old Evangelical United Brethren Church, current United Methodist Church, current St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the former “Cow Barn” community building.
Many others flocked to Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School for a craft fair that filled a large portion of the building. More than 50 vendors from around the area displayed their wares in the gym, cafeteria and hallways of the school. The list of potential gifts for people included quilts, woodworking objects, paintings, children’s books, clothing, jewelry and other items.
Hinzmann and the Jennings siblings joined many other children at the Elmwood Public Library for a free holiday workshop. Volunteers provided them with several arts and crafts activity tables and read a selection of seasonal stories. Children were also able to watch “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on a television while parents talked with each other.
Many Elmwood stores were open for business during the day. They also hosted activities such as Candy Cane Lane, a balloon artist, make-and-take door hang class and coloring contest.
Roger Bornemeier and Gordon Lannin served as Grand Marshals of the event’s Starry Knight Parade. Bornemeier, 85, has resided in the area his entire life. He was born in rural Elmwood and graduated from Murdock High School in 1951. He spent 20 years volunteering as a guide at the Bess Streeter Aldrich House and was a groundskeeper at the property. He served as a janitor at the school and was a Green Thumb volunteer in town.
Lannin, 86, moved to the area from North Platte in 1941. He graduated from Murdock High School and drove a school bus in the area for 16 years. All of his children graduated from Elmwood High School and he met many students through his work with the school. He has also helped deliver meals to people from Elmwood Community Center for many years.