Colusa welcomes the Christmas season

People pack the downtown for Christmas Tyme in Colusa

Christmas Tyme in Colusa was truly magical.

Children frolicked in manmade snow; sipped hot chocolate, licked peppermint-stripped candy canes and told Santa Claus what they hoped to see under their Christmas trees this year.

Adults shopped from a variety of vendors selling everything from homemade jelly to hand-painted snowmen, enjoyed the entertainment of stationary and strolling musicians, and visited the few businesses like Ace Hardware and Kittle’s Outdoor, which stayed open for the beloved annual tradition.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year, where our community just gets to come out and say hello to each other,” said Colusa County Supervisor Denise Carter, who along with Colusa City Councilman Dave Markss had the honor of lighting the town Christmas tree.
Although a commercial extravaganza in many respects, the spirit of giving was strung like Christmas lights from one end of Market Street to the other.

The first stop for Isabella Serrato, 8, of Colusa, was the Colusa County Library – where she enjoyed crafting candy canes into decorations and picked out two free books – “The Dog who Saved Christmas” and “Bad Pets Save Christmas” – before strolling off to find her friends.

The Literacy Program gave away hundreds of titles to children of all ages, complements of the California Library System.

“The reason we have the free book give-away at this event is to make sure everyone in town has a book in their collection,” said Alissa Morrow, Colusa County literacy coordinator. “Studies have shown that when you have your own library collection at home it helps increase reading levels. That is really important for kids.”

Colusa High School senior Braden Lyss also incorporated the spirit of the holidays into his senior class project, a graduation requirement centered on community service, outreach and good will.

“I liked the idea of giving back,” Lyss said. “I thought that since it is so close to Christmas, the best way to do that would be to give bikes away.”

Among the hundreds of children who put their names into the free raffle, seven won nearly-new bicycles.

For his project, Lyss enlisted the help of mentor Jim Pickering, a member of the Colusa Lions Club. The organization helped finance the refurbishment of the previously owned bikes.

Although Lyss hopes to head off to the University of Notre Dame or San Diego State next fall, Pickering said the Lions Club could possibly continue the project every year.

After all, it was the Colusa Lions Club and Colusa Rotary Club, both local service clubs, that organized Friday’s Christmas Tyme in Colusa, with the help from other sponsors.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help of all our supporters,” said Lion Ed Conrado. “Without them this wonderful evening would not happen.”

Lions Club member Larry Yeghoian said good weather particularly played into the success of Christmas Tyme in Colusa this year.

“It was a great night for it,” he said. “There was a ton of people here.”

Some of the biggest hits of the evening, other than the Christmas music playing over a loud speaker, were the fundraisers.

The Arbuckle Jr. Bears competitive cheerleaders probably found the most success with tacos and baked goods.

“We’re raising money to go to nationals in Las Vegas,” said Kayla Martinez, 12.

The Midget cheerleaders placed second in state competition, and the Pee Wee squad placed third, with both scoring a bid at the national competition in January.

Jordan Stephens, a seventh grader at Lloyd Johnson Jr. High, started fundraising early, making cookies and pies, and raising more than $300 prior to Friday’s event.

Other vendors, fundraising or not, said they also did well, and visitors said they couldn’t have been happier with Christmas Tyme this year.

“We don’t come every year but I think this is the most people I’ve ever seen at this event,” said Joe Carrancho, of Maxwell, as he and his wife, Maria, strolled from one end of Market Street to the other.

Jack and Carmen Shaffer, of Yuba City, said they do come every year, and always enjoy the street vendors and entertainment.

This year, the couple said they especially enjoyed the artwork of Brendan Farrel, on display at the Colusa County Arts Council, and the ukulele performers. ■