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Event evokes memories both new and old

On a windy and overcast December afternoon in West Fargo, Christmas memories were celebrated - and made. Bonanzaville hosted Christmas Memories on Saturday. The annual family holiday event featured crafts, food, music, sleigh rides and dance and ...

Ariana Gibb

On a windy and overcast December afternoon in West Fargo, Christmas memories were celebrated - and made.

Bonanzaville hosted Christmas Memories on Saturday. The annual family holiday event featured crafts, food, music, sleigh rides and dance and theater performances.

"This is wonderful," Marilyn Hoffart, of Moorhead, said as she took in the festivities.

Bonanzaville officials hoped at least 500 people would attend. The attendance count wasn't available Saturday, but officials were pleased with the turnout.

"A lot of people are getting out, despite the weather," said Kim Baird, Cass County Historical Society president.

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A stiff breeze contributed to a wind chill of about 5 below.

Fargo resident Don Schmidt, dressed as Father Christmas, didn't seem to mind the cold as he distributed candy and good cheer.

"I'm doing pretty well," said the heavily bundled Schmidt.

Most of the activities were held inside two buildings: Bonanzaville's main museum and its Dawson Hall.

Performers included the Lake Agassiz Girls Choir, the Fargo Baptist Quartet and Orchestra Gaspers School of Dance, the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre and the Oak Grove, Park Christian Shanley and West Fargo high school singers.

Musical selections included "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "O Christmas Tree."

Jan Bakken of Moorhead said she enjoyed the performances.

"This is a good event," she said.

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Christmas Memories originally was known as Christmas on the Prairie before switching to the Holidays on the Prairie name last year.

Taking Christmas out of the event's name created a backlash, and Bonanzaville decided it would restore Christmas in the name this year.

Baird said Bonanzaville has heard a number of positive comments, and no negative ones, about the new name.

Bruce Whitmarsh, Bonanzaville's new executive director, said officials on Monday will assess how the event went.

"We'll find out what worked well and what didn't work so well, and we'll go from there," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

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