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HARTINGTON — Downtown Hartington began to look a little more colorful early this week as preparations began in earnest for the 20th annual Candlelight Christmas celebration. 

This year’s event will feature several community Open Houses, the annual lighted vehicle parade, Holiday music and, of course, Santa Claus. 

This year’s event is also expected to have something that’s been missing the past couple of years — good weather.

The National Weather Service is predicting sunny skies and highs in the 40s on Friday. 

Last year’s celebration featured rain and temperatures in the 30s. 

Santa will be at the Historic Hartington Hotel beginning at 5:30 p.m., and he will return after the parade to visit with area children, and get their Christmas wish lists.

As of press time, entries for the parade were still being taken. Anyone interested in getting into the parade is asked to contact a Chamber officer or Parade Chair Brittany Schrempp.

Special dinner menus will be available at most downtown eating establishments for the evening. 

The Knights of Columbus will also be holding their annual Soup Supper at the KC Hall featuring chili, hot dogs and chicken noodle soup.  Funds from this year’s event at the KC Hall will go toward helping Clair Hochstein.

The CD of A will also hold a pie fundraiser at the KC Hall.

The High School Bowling League is planning to sell Brisket and Brats as a fundraiser. They will be housed out of the Northeast Pipe and Panel office on South Broadway.

The Chief and Broadway Lanes are also planning food specials.

Open houses are planned at the Hartington Library, First Chiropractic, Floral Designs, Hartelco, Keith’s Package Liquor, Kruse True Value,  Uptown Charm, the Bank of Hartington, Steffen Drug, Main Street Jewelers, Craig Pfeifer Knights of Columbus Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Town and Country Insurance, Fay’s Furniture, Farmer’s Union, D&J Variety and TUF. 

The new Chasin’ Charlie’s General Store in the Globe building will also have an Open House to introduce area residents to their wares.

Winners of the Holiday Baking Contest and the Countdown to Christmas Give-away will be announced at the Hotel after the parade. Judging for the baking contest will begin at 3 p.m. 

The Hartington-Newcastle Student Council will host a dance for students in grade 7-10 after parade. The dance is slated to end at 10:30 p.m.