still draws the faithful for its Christmas in a Small Town to marvel at and
snatch up hand-made crafts, local honey, bakery goods and other merchandise for
Christmas gifting and feasting.
Despite some rain showers on Dec. 7, throngs showed their loyalty to the 31st annual Imperial Chamber of Commerce mainstay held in the city’s downtown.
constant as the event itself is Marion Long, 91, a former music teacher at
Imperial elementary and high schools. She composed her special song in 1991
just for the occasion, and returned to perform the original ode, her
“Christmas in a Small Town” song.
wrote it 28 years ago,” she recalled. “Since Christmas in a Small Town
was still new then I thought we could use a new song. It was a special day and
we wanted to do it in our own special way. So, I’m glad it’s still working for
good friends old and new.”
being hampered by a cold, Long tore into her song with a resonant voice,
surprising for such a diminutive frame.
bring the Christmas season in with lots of joy for you/The Chamber of Commerce
deserves our thanks/For all that they have done/And all the folks who made this
day, a lot of fun,” she sang
Long’s performance, Santa Claus arrived in his desert sleigh, a four-wheel-drive
truck, to the delight of many children lined up to meet him. One of those
patiently waiting was Iann Oehm, a third-grade student at the Ben Hulse School,
who was sporting a fresh coat of face paint.
been a good time today,” he said. “But what I’d really like for
Christmas is a Husky (dog).”
love Christmas in a Small Town,” said Teresa Oehm, Iann’s mother.
“It’s such a tradition with my kids. I’ve been bringing them since they
were small (including daughter Isabella Castillo, 20). We’re doing some
Christmas shopping, looking for arts and crafts and we love all the food.”
his coordination with a new acquisition, Joseph Hisel, a Frank Wright Middle School
sixth-grade student, practiced keeping his hula hoop spinning around his waist.
just got it today,” he said. “But all I really want is my family. My
sister sang ‘Silent Night’ with her third-grade choir (Ben Hulse School). Because
I did it too (years ago) it was nice to see my sister in it.”
to Upgrade Home Decor
Mecate, an Imperial homemaker, was carefully comparing hand-made pottery bowls one
of the vendor booths. She bought one in robin’s
love the color,” she said. “I’ll probably use it as a candy bowl. I
always come to Christmas in a Small Town to peruse. We (with daughter Kylee)
came to look around but we always go home with something.”
the pottery maker, has done his own pottery since the late 1970s when he took a
course at Imperial Valley College, though he retains his full-time gig as a tile
(pottery) a two-step process,” said Vogel. “I use the throwing wheel
(to form the slab clay) and fire it in a kiln. Then I glaze it and fire it
again. The glaze is a thin layer of glass that sits on the clay.”
Vogel’s first time selling his pottery at Christmas in a Small Town and he said
he found the people very friendly.
good just talking to people,” he said.
wife, Araceli, “It’s something different. You’re not going to see any
pottery out here.”
Cordova, another stay-at-home wife, was gingerly carrying a “welcome”
sign taller than herself she is planning to install by her front door.
love the sunflower (motif). They’re my favorite,” she said. “I also
bought an acrylic cup for a gift, but this is my last stop.”
the woodworker who produced the sign for his new business, Lee Family Woodshop,
explained sales were pretty good considering the steady rainfall.
this was only supposed to be a hobby for my retirement, but my kids talked me
into doing one of the (City of Imperial) market days and ever since then it’s a
job, but a fun job.”
Scent of Christmas Enjoyed
placing a 26-ounce Gold Canyon pomegranate scented candle in her sack, Gracie
Cristerna noted she and her family usually go to Christmas in a Small Town.
probably place it on the kitchen table.” she said. “After this we’ll
probably go to the Gran Plaza (Calexico) and then visit family in
Viloria, the vendor selling the candles, explained Gold Canyon are strong
scented and fills a house with its aroma, which has a double wick to burn
evenly. She noted sales were pretty good despite the rain.
it’s dry people tend to browse, but in the rain they’ll buy whatever they came
to look at,” she said. “The cooler weather seems to help for candle
Paradis, Imperial Chamber executive director, revealed the event had 135
vendors, 50 of them new.
a record high,” said Paradis. “We’re grateful we have such a variety
of merchandise. We’re just thrilled to continue to grow and offer Christmas in
a Small Town to all Imperial Valley.”