Mercer Community Christmas includes merry memories


December 4, 2017

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

ENJOYING THE Mercer Community Christmas event at the Mercer Community Center Saturday are, from left: Jessica Milashus; her daughter Ava, 9; Santa; and Rob Milashus with son Max, 5, on his lap.


Mercer - A full moon shone brightly over Saturday evening's Mercer Community Christmas at the Mercer Community Center.

Tables were full with local residents enjoying holiday treats with family and friends while Santa sat nearby to visit with a steady stream of babies and children.

"This is a giveback for the community," said Mary Vaughn, who has chaired the free event for the past twenty-one years. "We don't even sell raffle tickets here."

The occasion itself goes back more than 40 years, according to those old enough to remember.

Marge Pemble, who was helping to greet this year's arrivals, said she was actively involved with setting up earlier events at the Mercer Depot, which had no central heating.

"We'd build the fire in a pot-bellied stove, decorate, cook hotdogs and bake cookies, and it was so much fun," she said. "Some of those little children that we had here in the early '80s are here today with their grandchildren."

Jessica Milashus attended as a child. "I remember the excitement of Santa-I guess you could say the magic of Christmas-and now I can relive it through my kids' eyes," Milashus said.

Milashus was at Saturday's event with her husband, Rob, and their two children, Ava, 9, and Max, 5. Ava said talking to Santa was the highlight of her night.

Samantha and Adam Kussard, now young adults, also attended as children. Samantha said she recalls taking sleigh rides with a horse named Buddy.

For other people, the event represented a homecoming. Zach Salter said he grew up in Mercer and recently moved back with his wife, Jennifer, and their daughters, Ariella and baby Olivia, who gradually warmed to Santa's big smile.

Pemble said that the Mercer Fire Department escorted Santa to this year's event, but that in previous years, he traveled by dog sled, horse-drawn wagon, or other means.

According to Vaughn, the event generally draws about 40 to 50 children, as well as "all the adults who come with them."

She added, "We ask kids to bring in either a toy or a food item" which then are distributed to Mercer Area Food Pantry, Inc. or to Dove, Inc., a domestic violence escape shelter for women, men and children in Ironwood.

A door prize was available for one boy and one girl on Saturday.

Many people help to facilitate the overall fun.

"We all came in to decorate yesterday," said Pemble, who credited fellow greeter Wendy Schmidt with making posters this year.

The Mercer Area Historical Society and the Mercer Lioness Club co-hosted the event, which was sponsored by the Mercer Loons Motorcycle Club.

Lioness members provided refreshments.


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