EATON — Whispering Christmas is under way at Fort St. Clair in Eaton. Currently, Santa is in the cabin every night from 6-9 p.m. until Dec. 23, ready to greet children and hear their Christmas wishes.
According to Whispering Christmas Committee Co-Chairs Amber and Lewis Willeford, this year they had several exciting additions to the 33-year-long tradition of Whispering Christmas.
On Wednesday, Nov. 27, the group hosted the first ever 5K Whispering Christmas Jingle Jog, family fun run/walk, with the help of Speedy Feet timing. The Jingle Jog started at the Eaton High School, ran through Fort St. Clair, came back to the high school, and made one trip around the track.
The participants of the Jingle Jog were able to get a sneak peek of the lights before the display opened to the public, and do so at a pace that was comfortable for them. After the race, they had the opportunity to enjoy hot cocoa and cookies in the Eaton High School Wellness Center.
“It was a fun event for all and we have had numerous requests to make this an official annual event. We truly appreciate Eaton High School for allowing us to utilize their facilities, as well as all of the city employees and volunteers that made the event possible,” the Willeford’s said.
Other additions, thanks to the donations received last year, include two new displays: Peanuts and Grinch. The Peanuts display measures 12 feet tall and 32 feet wide and the Grinch is 14 feet tall.
“As with anything, there have also been a few changes,” they said. “The little houses had to be replaced due to needed repairs. The cabins will be closed on Christmas Eve, but drive through will still be open. The Santa schedule has changed slightly as well with the addition of extra days!
“Santa will be in the main Cabin every night through Dec. 23. He will also be accompanied by Mrs. Claus more days this year, though she couldn’t make it everyday. By adding more days, we are hoping to see an improvement in long lines (for both Santa lines and traffic coming into the Fort) on Friday and Saturday nights.”
The Willeford’s also thanked all volunteers who helped make this year’s light display possible.
“Without them, none of this would be possible. We now have 12 participants in the fun ‘Battle of the Areas’: National Trail MCVTC FFA has the front stretch of Camden Road, Silfex has the entrance, The Pearson Family has the Whispering Oak and Stage Coach area, Reid Health Urgent Care Eaton has the Candy Cane area, The Gade Family has Toy Land, The Wigger Family has the woods area with jumping deer, Neaton has the left side coming out of woods to the Memory Cabin, Blue Star Mothers have the Memory Cabin, Parker Hannifin has the playground, The Siney Family has the Santa Cabin, Bullen Ultrasonics has the 12 days of Christmas, and Henny Penny has the exit.
“You can vote for your favorite area on our Facebook page @FortstclairWhisperingChristmas (Fort St. Clair’s Whispering Christmas).
“We also thank the servers, entertainers, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and elves. Also, the City of Eaton with all their support, the great Eaton police division for their hard work and dedication. Once again we were blessed with many supporters through generous donations.”
Whispering Christmas received donations from the following organizations and individuals:
•Silfex — Sponsor of 5K run shirts
•Walmart — Grant to cover hot cocoa and supplies
•Lawn Plus — Christmas bulbed trees
•McDonald’s — lunches, orange drink, cold cups, and hot cups
•ACE Hardware — hot cups
•Alpha Kappa Sorority West Alexandria — galvanized stakes for rock lights
•Danielle Kolonis — artwork for the 5k shirts
•Julie Cultice — keychains for the first 100 5k participants
The volunteers were fed lunch each working day. Those lunches were provided by: McDonald’s, Buckeye Jake’s, Wings Etc., Papa John’s, Little Caesars, Camden Powerhouse, Eaton Skyline, Eaton KFC, and Sharon McKee Family.
For more information, visit Fort St. Clair’s Whispering Christmas Facebook page.