MILLERSBURG — A fledgling community group must have some pull somewhere if it was able to bring Santa Claus to the east end of Elkhart County.
St. Nicholas, escorted by fire truck to Millersburg Town Hall, was met by a small but enthusiastic crowd of children and parents.
His visit was arranged by Enhancing Millersburg, an organization born out of the need to grow community involvement in the county’s smallest town.
Municipal employees in this town of just over 900 are scarce and don’t always have the time to coordinate town parties, organizers said Saturday as Santa talked with the children.
Enhancing Millersburg has not only prepared several construction projects of its own to improve the downtown, but it also decorates for holidays, updates the community on new projects and hosts the town’s annual summer festival, Streetfest, which includes the Millersburg Cruise-in and Bike Night.
Streetfest, formerly known as Farmer’s Day, brings residents to the small town with games, food and food contests, music and other activities.
The organization also has been trying to expand opportunities in the town, even recently proposing to host regular farmer’s markets.
More recently, Enhancing Millersburg has been working toward developing the right Christmas celebration.
Attendance during last year’s festival event, An Evening with Santa, wasn’t very high. The winter festival featured Santa Claus, food, music, crafts and special treats a fter the Thanksgiving holiday and in the downtown corridor. Due to the lack of reception over the last three years, the committee decided to downsize Santa’s visit for this year.
“It makes me sad,” said Kate Rink, a committee member for Enhancing Millersburg. “I’ve lived here my whole life and I like to be a part of the community and be involved.”
Rink believes part of the lack of participation has to do with the fact that the vast majority of residents live in rental properties rather than homes they own. He hopes the renters will begin to take more pride in the community.
Enhancing Millersburg’s mission is to revitalize the historic downtown district by creating opportunities for community involvement.
During last weekend’s event, the group offered parents the opportunity to take photos with Father Christmas and their little ones. They also gave out gift bags, doughnuts and hot chocolate.
More information about Enhancing Millersburg and how to get involved is available on Facebook under “Enhancing Millersburg Inc.”