In just over a week, we’ll enter into the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year when the sun is out just nine of our 24 hours per day.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that during this season, we decorate with lights and find time to get together with friends and family to add some illumination to this time.

Waunakee officially kicked off the holiday season Friday, it seemed. Prairie Elementary School students performed their winter concerts, Santa and Mrs. Claus came to town for the Light the Night event where the tree at the roundabout was illuminated, and they stayed for Saturday’s visit with children at the Waunakee Village Center.

I had the pleasure of photographing Friday evening’s event, where Santa and Mrs. Claus entered Main Street in a charming horse-drawn carriage, supplied by RG Huston for the occasion. There hundreds of families were gathered with children of all ages to make the trek east down Main Street to the Village Park.

Waunakee Rotary Club members with volunteers from other service organizations have the park illuminated with lighted displays where families could meander and take in the magic. And members of Christian Life Assembly Church sang Christmas carols and provided hot cider and cookies.

So many volunteers worked together to make the occasion as merry as possible. Village staff and board members, along with the Waunakee Chamber of Commerce led the event, and others lent a hand, popping corn, providing cookies and stringing lights, to make the event special.

If you didn’t make last weekend’s events, you can still attend a number of other holiday events throughout Waunakee this season. Santa will return for a breakfast hosted by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America at Waunakee High School Sunday. Several concerts, performances and other gatherings are planned throughout the community, as well, in the next few weeks, including a live nativity scene at FPC (First Presbyterian Church) this weekend. Check the Tribune’s Coming Events sections for more details.

Take some time to attend some of the these in your community. Chances are, you’ll feel a bit more joyful and lighthearted during this dark time.

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