Cole Camp Brings A Merry Christmas From A Distance

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
 Cole Camp merchants banned together to give their customers and other visitors a taste of Christmas with their “Christmas From A Distance” celebration this past weekend.
According to Judy Smasal, owner of Handle Haus and Wine, Women and Song, the Cole Camp merchants wanted  to move forward with spreading Christmas cheer.
Downtown Cole Camp was filled with people enjoying cookies, hot chocolate and live shows in the windows of various businesses. 
Downtown merchants were also open throughout the evening to help customers with their Christmas shopping with special deals in many of the local shops.
“We wanted to spread some holiday cheer during this Christmas season and still maintain a safe celebration,” said Smasal.
Smasal explained that those serving hot chocolate on the street wore masks and gloves and those who came to enjoy the festivities practiced social distancing.
The Citizens Farmers Bank was the site of the cookie sale.
Children from the community created holiday scenes in the windows of various business for downtown shoppers to enjoy.
Santa and elves were in the window of Bee Cherished Flowers and More while children reading a story to other children was set in the south window of Handel Haus..  Children decorating a tree were featured in the north window of Handel Haus.
Children dressed in costumes recreated the nativity scene in the window of the Wine, Women and Song shop.
Scroogette was the main character in the window of Mid Mo Trends.
According to Smasal, about 500 people walked through downtown Cole Camp during the “Christmas at a Distance” celebration.
“We had a horse drawn carriage but we only allowed family members to ride together,” said Smasal.  
Carolers from a Mennonite Church in Versailles as well as the German Mannerchor from Cole Camp strolled along the streets singing to those enjoying the window scenes.  The singers were always a safe distance away from those watching the window scenes.
Smasal said that the Christmas celebration was not to make money but instead to spread Christmas cheer.
“During this time I think we all need a little cheering up,” said Smasal.
The money made on the cookie sale went to the Cole Camp PAWS organization to help the animal shelter.
Most Cole Camp businesses will be open until December 23 for Christmas shoppers.  They will open up again on December 26 and then close on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 
The Cole Camp merchants have plans for much bigger celebrations hopefully this spring and fall.
“We have plans for an ‘Eggtravaganza’ around Easter and then we hope to have a fall celebration as well with a cemetery walk and parade,” said Smasal.
Smasal also encouraged those who are still looking for Christmas gifts to shop at the small stores around the Benton County area.