Slideshow: Downtown Eau Claire prepares for Christmas

Annual “Christmastime in the City” includes a visit from Miss Wisconsin

Businesses in the downtown area will be surrounded by reminders of Christmas during the holiday season.

Photo by Rebecca Lubecki

Businesses in the downtown area will be surrounded by reminders of Christmas during the holiday season.

Story by Rebecca Lubecki, Freelancer


When people take a walk downtown Eau Claire, they will be able to see each local business getting into the Christmas spirit. Whether it is a simple wreath or an elaborate snowflake window display, each business is provided festivity to contribute to this past weekend’s celebration, “Christmastime in the City.”

“Christmastime in the City” is an annual event hosted by Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., in downtown Eau Claire. This year’s festival took place Saturday, Dec. 6.

Miss Wisconsin, Raeanna Johnson, made an appearance this year to light the Christmas tree, which capped off the event, according to Salina Heller, Downtown Communications and Promotions Coordinator of DECI. Johnson visited with people and signed autographs after.

“She did great and talked about how great it is for our community to have this. We were very happy to have her light the tree,” Elaine Coughlin, who works for DECI, said.

The Christmas tree was a 25-foot Fraser Fir, which was donated by Caron Christmas Trees of Eau Claire. Thomas Leigh Decorators decorated the tree with ornaments painted by Brent Douglas Floral. The top for the tree is also a newer addition.

“Each year we try to do something fun and new and update the tree,” Heller said.

Brent Douglas has been the consultant for how the tree looks each year. He painted the ornaments to give the tree a new look and each year DECI builds on that to contribute something different. This year the tree was located on the parking lot across from the Children’s Museum to get more notice.

Heller said the Lunch with Santa Clause has always been popular for kids attending the event, along with the reindeer, so she keeps them part of the event. This was the third year including the reindeer, so DECI wanted to bring them back because they are a favorite for everyone attending and there are not many places to see them the Eau Claire area.

“Christmastime in the City this year was a huge success,” Coughlin said. “Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. had over 450 people from the community attend Lunch with Santa where they could participate in cookie decorating, making crafts, going on a horse-drawn wagon ride and much more.”

Heller said she decided to include a second horse-drawn carriage for wagon rides because those were popular with everyone last year and the line to wait for one carriage ride went completely around the block.

“Christmastime in the City” also included a new light display in Phoenix Park, which was lit up during its own short ceremony, “Let It Glow,” on Dec. 4. The lights go along the walkway of the park leading up to the bridge for people to enjoy.

Heller said she thinks people will enjoy the new light addition and hopes to add more each year.

“We have got those exciting things to come, see and do, and take a walk through the park for the very first time with the lights…we’ve been hearing a lot of neat comments and people are excited,” Heller said.

The schedule of events included performances from Eau Claire Memorial Madrigal Singers and Eau Claire Children’s Theater’s Starquest, along with holiday shopping and treats, which were available all day.

All in all, Coughlin said the event was a success and will be continued.

“We are very happy with this year’s results and cannot wait to do it again next year.”