When the Real Christmas observance began 25 years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union on protested the event, and the village’s display of a nativity scene in a public park, calling it a violation of the separation of church and state.
Undaunted, Waterloo’s churches erected wooden sheds along Main Street where costumed centurions walked the traffic-clogged intersections. Church choirs sang carols and church faithful reenacted Biblical scenes dramatizing the birth of Christ.
2018 marks the silver anniversary of Real Christmas, and although a lot has changed, the event, now called Miracle on Main Street, continues on November 30th and December 1st, reminding the public that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
The committee has planned many special events for the occasion, including a tribute to Ed and Jean Nelson, part of the founding group of the annual event, a puppet show and a display of decorated trees created by businesses and organizations.
As part of this year’s Miracle on Main Street, shopping bags will be displayed in businesses on Main Street until Friday, November 30th. Patrons may put their name and phone number in the bag for a chance to win the $100 prize.
Miracle on Main Street 2018 begins with the traditional Apple Pie Contest, hosted this year by the Gridley Inn at 4PM on Friday. Pies will be accepted at the Inn between 4PM and 5 PM. A panel of three judges will rate the delicacies on taste, texture and appearance. The winning entry will be announced at the closing program on Saturday.
At 6PM Friday, everyone will gather at the Waterloo Baptist Church for a special tribute to the Nelsons being prepared by Dave and Darlene Duprey. The new honorary angels will be announced, a small cantata will be presented and refreshments served.
Saturday afternoon activities will be at the Waterloo Community Center on Oak Street starting at 1PM. There will a puppet show, live nativity scenes, singing, crafts, an area for making cards for the military and an electric train display.
One of the new events will be a Christmas tree decorating contest. Community members, businesses and organizations are invited to participate by decorating a 5 to 10 foot tree. The public can vote for the winner of a $250 People’s Choice Award, or one of three $100 prizes awarded to Prettiest, Best Theme and Most Humorous or Creative trees. More information is available from Bonnie Burlew at 315.350.0180 or Nancy Gray at 315.539.8741.
At 4PM the community will convene in Lafayette Park. Contest winners will be announced, and Pete Eisenberg’s food truck will sell hot chocolate and other refreshments. The evening will conclude with remarks by the Mayor, group singing of Christmas carols and the lighting of the community Christmas tree.
The public is encouraged to participate in all events, which are free and open to all.