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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
The 3rd Pittsfield Deer Santa Festival took place from 3-6 p.m. on Sunday around the courthouse square.
As in previous years, a highlight of this year’s festival was the “Deer Santa Yard Deer Display Challenge.”
Participants in the challenge purchased plywood yard deer from Picture Pittsfield for $40. Participants then decorated the deer in an attempt to win the deer display challenge.
The $40 cost included the $30 material cost of the deer, as well as a $5 donation to the Pittsfield High School woodshop for cutting out the deer and $5 donation towards the Deer Santa Festival expenses.
According to Picture Pittsfield President Patrick Lamb, the contest is an important fundraiser to help underwrite many of the community improvement activities spearheaded by Picture Pittsfield.
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“Decorating a deer is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and help your community at the same time,” Lamb said. “We want to see this competition continue to grow. It takes a village to make all this happen. Without community support, Picture Pittsfield and so many other community organizations wouldn’t exist.”
Another highlight of this year’s Deer Santa Festival was an open house at the Pike County Art Guild’s new art space located at 117 ½ North Madison Street.
According to Pike County Art Guild founder Kelly Johnson, the open house was well attended and well received by community members.
“It went very well,” Johnson said. “I felt like we had a really great turnout, and we had lots of compliments on the new space, which is nice.”
Attendees at the open house were able to view visual art created by local artists, and families creatively decorated Christmas ornaments and mugs.
Ornaments were provided free of charge, while the mugs served as a fundraiser for both the art guild and the Pittsfield High School art program.
Johnson indicated that the art guild’s new art space will host multiple arts related events each month, and the space will be available to community members to rent for private special events.
Other features of the Deer Santa Festival included a live reindeer on the south side of the square, a Pittsfield Public Library story walk, an appearance from Santa at the William Watson Hotel and a performance from S&S School of Dance students.
The festival culminated with a brief lighted parade around the courthouse square, ending with the ceremonial lighting of the city’s Christmas tree by Pittsfield Mayor Gary Mendenhall.
Following the festival, Picture Pittsfield invites community members to take part in a silent wreath auction to raise additional funds for the organization.
Decorated wreaths are displayed in the lobby of the Madison House building (Brewed, Pike Co. Mercantile, and Reap + Sow lobby area).
Sales of the wreaths will take place via a virtual silent auction on Facebook. The auction began on Nov. 28 and will continue through 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. At that time, the silent auction will close and wreath winners will be notified. Proceeds benefit Picture Pittsfield’s 2022 community projects.
According to Lamb, bids will be accepted both on Picture Pittsfield’s Facebook page and in a book located at the Madison House lobby. Those interested in more information about the wreath auction should contact Lamb at 217-833-3438.
The Deer Santa Festival was launched in 2019 as a project of the community organization, Picture Pittsfield.