By Jason Wesseldyk
The Christmas season has officially arrived in Otsego and Plainwell.
Otsego hosted its Hometown Christmas event on Saturday, Dec. 3, with the parade taking place at 6 p.m. followed by the tree-lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m.
Other events included a farmers market, children’s crafts, caroling, hayrides, visits with Santa, a community dinner, a live nativity and the First Annual .22 run from the TOPS Pavilion to the social district.
“It was so awesome,” Otsego-Plainwell Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Jenny Boerman said. “The buzz around town and on social media has been all positive. The turnout was great even despite the chilly weather.
“We had approximately 20 people run in the .22 fun run; hundreds of people came out to visit Santa under the pavilion, eat the community dinner and decorate cookies; and the hayrides were very popular this year, with people enjoying the new route. It was really nice to have everything in one centralized location near the pavilion, with the Christmas tree and the river in the background.”
In a post on the City of Otsego’s Facebook page, Otsego city manager/Hometown Christmas chair Aaron Mitchell thanked the many volunteers who helped make the event a success. He also asked for input for next year’s event.
“If you have any thoughts or opinions on Hometown Christmas and how to improve the event for 2023, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Mitchell wrote. “We are always open to ideas and ways to improve this great community event year to year. Thank you again and have a Merry Christmas!”
Earlier in the day, Plainwell held its annual Christmas parade through the downtown area.
The previous night, the city hosted Light Up the Night, which featured shopping along the Merry Mile, a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt, caroling by the Plainwell High School choir and, of course, the tree lighting.
“From the responses I am getting from our community, this was the best one yet,” Plainwell community development manager Denise Siegel said. “I thought it went really well, and can’t thank all the organizations who helped pull the event together and those that sponsored the event as well. I think we had one of our largest crowds yet and our tree is so beautiful.”
Speaking of the tree, it was donated to the city by the Ramsey family.
“The Ramsey family has dedicated the tree in memory of their beloved father, grandfather and husband Jeff Ramsey,” Siegel said. “Jeff was raised in Plainwell and always loved his small hometown and all of its wonderful traditions.
“The family thought it was fitting to honor him with the donation and dedication of the 2022 Plainwell Christmas tree.”
Siegel also praised the Plainwell choir and the reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Ransom District Library head of patron services Analiese Matton.
“Those things really added so much to the celebration this year, as did having our City Council there and the countdown to lighting the tree by Mayor Brad Keeler.”