The holiday season arrived in Chester last week when Christmas on the River returned to Chester Square Gazebo Park for three days of fun and games.
Around 150 people came out Wednesday, Dec. 1, to see Santa light the community tree, according to Recreation Director Patti Carter.
Santa arrived via rescue boat to visit with kids and hear their wishes. The Chester High School Band provided festive music.
Friday's Reindeer Games saw teams solving 12 Days of Christmas-themed clues to find their way through an amazing race around town, completing tasks along the way. Here are the winners:
First place: Michelle Rust, Priscilla Martinez, Stephanie Jany, Rachel Marshall and Jenny Krantz.
Second place: Autumn Phillips, Megan Blue, Kenny Phillips and Christie Phillips.
Third place: Jodi Springer, Layla Kaspar, Deb Rust, Jessica Buatte and Marla Rockwell; also winners of Best Holiday Fashion.
Kids and families were able to get in on the fun Saturday afternoon during Frosty's Follies. Seven teams competed in the scavenger hunt, which included a stop to meet Frosty at the gazebo. The winners were:
First place: Tracy Welge, Dave Stellhorn, Judith Pinks and Sylvia Stellhorn; also won Best Decorated Transportation.
Second place: Jeffrey Roth, Xander Thaxton, Debbie Baer and Christine Baer.
Third place: Cheri Boyd, Judy Yankey, Pam Horrell and Emily Millberg.
Best Holiday Fashion: Axten Fortner, Lisa Kessel, Elizabeth Klausing.
The Lighted Parade was back Saturday with more than 15 entries to brighten the night from the high school to the center of the action -- Chester Square Gazebo Park.
The VFW Honor Guard led the procession, which included the Chester High School Marching Yellowjackets and dance team. A trackless train carried Frosty, the Grinch, Claude the Elf, and Everest and Marshall from Paw Patrol, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus bringing up the rear.
At the park, kids were able to visit with Santa and the characters, take a ride on the trackless train, take photos in front of the life-size snow globe and check out the petting zoo of all baby animals.
Carolers entertained the crowd, and the hot cocoa and coffee from the First Baptist Church kept everyone warm until a rapid drop in temperature sent many revelers home.
A crowd favorite of the night was the gingerbread house float by David and Theresa Marks. It was such a hit that the Markses decided to donate it to the city for use in future years, Carter said.
More than 100 vendors sold their wares at Christmas on the River craft sales at three locations -- Randolph County Courthouse, the VFW, and the Chester American Legion.
Christmas on the River is a big undertaking every year, and Carter would like to thank the following people on behalf of the Parks and Recreation Department:
• The City of Chester employees for all of the decorating and behind-the-scenes jobs that make the Christmas on the River weekend happen.
• The Chester Fire Department for bringing Santa and Mrs. Claus to town for the Tree Lighting.
• Steve Colonel and the Chester High School and Grade School Marching Yellowjackets.
• Pam and Mike Fogerson and the First Baptist Church.
• Jay Allison, Billy Belton, Lorin Mott, Charles Bargman Sr., Aaron Gibbs, Teri Crum, Norma Baughman, Terri Maes Hirte, Don Berry, Mark Allwardt, Billy Berbuegler, Travis Lott, Samuel Steven Higgerson, Kyle Mifflin, Billy Belton, Steve Renner, Sarah Roth, Regina Breece Barnhart and Barb Hill.
To see videos and pictures of all the fun from throughout the weekend, check out the Chester Parks and Recreation page (@thehomeofpopeye) on Facebook.