By HDN staff
Its sad when community traditions whether long-standing or relatively new fall by the wayside.
In our editorial on Friday, Sept. 24, we sang the virtues of the 1999 Festival Days celebration and we were especially pleased with the renewed life found downtown over the weekend. In hopes of sparking more such weekend activities, we called on other volunteers to step to the plate and lend a hand.
Unfortunately, a week later, we have found just the opposite is true. The traditional Christmas Stroll has been canceled.
It wasnt canceled because attendance was poor. It wasnt canceled because the downtown retailers dont want the consumer traffic. It wasnt even canceled because some Scrooge is against the outside celebration.
After talking with Havre Area Chamber of Commerce Director Debbie Vandeberg, it all comes down to a matter of bodies.
In the past, the job of organizing and running the stroll has fallen to the Chambers retail business committee and the downtown business owners. And they just cant do it anymore.
Now, at first glance, this may seem questionable. But anyone who has ever had anything to do with small retail business knows that the Christmas season is its make-it or break-it lifeblood. If a retailer has a poor holiday season, it may not survive the coming months.
And most of Havres downtown businesses are entities with rather small staffs many only a couple of salespeople at a time on duty. So, to take salespeople and business owners off the floor during the busiest time of the year is just not feasible. As much as the retailers support the community, they need to support their families first.
It had been hoped, Vandeberg said, that another group a service organization or two would step forward and run the show. But those efforts all fell through.
We will still have the beautiful Christmas tree and lights sponsored by the Chamber. The businesses will still have the window display contest. The Christmas prize give-away and the Christmas cash program is still a go.
But the stroll is dead.
That is, unless some service organization out there wants to share some Christmas spirit and breathe new life into the stroll.
And while were on the subject of holiday celebrations, the Havre Daily News is in search of the communitys New Years Eve millennium celebration plans. Anyone or any group or any business who is organizing an event for that night, contact us so we can share your news.
Come on, people, it only comes once every 1,000 years. Are you going to be here for the next one?