This year, the Fort Pierre Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony saw over 200 attendees. And, the Chili/Soup Cook-off saw over 100 taste-testers.
According to Sunny Hannum, credit for the relatively large crowd has been given, at least in part, to the public performance of the Stanley County School students, under the direction of Tina England, singing a rapport of traditional Christmas carols. The role of Santa Claus was played by Daniel Hoey, Stanley County Superintendent.
The winner of Best Chili contest was Shad Ludemann and First National Bank. The Best Soup contest winner was once again Reggie Nelson of the Sioux Nation. During the cook-off, $556 was given in free-will donations to go toward Fort Pierre residents who need assistance in paying their heating bills.
This year’s Best Business Lighting Decorations contest was Chase Auto & RV. The Best Home
Lighting Decoration was won by James Walti, who received a $25 gift certificate for Dakotamart in Fort Pierre. The Best Western Wear contest was won by six-year-old Maddie Stoeser who came to the cook-off like she was dressed for the rodeo arena — with her rope, piggin’ string and spurs. Stoeser won a $25 gift certificate for Total Beauty.
Sponsors for this year’s event were Duffy Community Center, Dakotamart, AGE Construction, Fort Pierre City Employees, Ronda Sweetman, Tina England & Stanley County Schools, Prime Time Paul & Dakota Radio Group, Capital Journal, Joe Thorne and Beth Carr Briggs with their wagons and teams. Ten chilies and soups were provided by Oahe Racers, First United Methodist Church, Chase Auto & RV, First National Bank, Fort Pierre Development, Mayor Gloria Hanson & Ron Schreiner, Shane’s Pharmacy, Drifters Bar & Grille, and Sioux Nation.
As a heads-up for next year, business and home owners need to have their exterior decorations up and lit the night before the tree lighting ceremony. Judging is done on that evening. It is a great showing for the homes and businesses, and for the community in general, that many more lights were put up on Friday. That timing was, regretfully, too late for the judging.