Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

Afew short weeks ago a small group of volunteers sat at a table discussing ideas for special events that could be held downtown this holiday season. There was the annual Santa light parade to plan. Plus, business owners dedicated to staying open late for shoppers at least one night a week wanted to create promotions for Thursday evenings that would bring folks downtown and provide them with some free entertainment.

There were fewer than a dozen people at the meeting, but there was no shortage of ideas: "Santa could arrive in a helicopter ... let's invite families to the library for story time and a visit from Santa ... an ugly Christmas sweater contest could be fun ... and what about a walk through the streets of downtown led by a knowledgeable docent who could shed some light on the history of downtown?"

I dubbed this last idea the Jingle Bell Walk. I imagined a group of

festive adventuresome souls bundled up against the cold (and probably

rain) embarking on a guided tour that would bring some of the rich

history I've heard about Crescent City to life.

A few days later I was on the phone with Karen Betlejewski,

coordinator for the Del Norte County Historical Society. After

consulting with the board and the membership, Karen told me the Jingle

Bell Walk was a go and she and other Historical Society volunteers

jumped in to create a magical evening scheduled for this coming Thusday.

This, of course, is the last Thursday before Christmas, so if you're

looking for one more fun, stress-free thing to do with family and

friends before the big day arrives or if you still need to do some

shopping, please consider supporting our local businesses and come

downtown Thursday.

At 6 p.m. meet local historian Michelle Radison at the Museum on the

corner of Fifth and H streets. Michelle will ask you to imagine the

downtown of yesteryear. You'll see beyond the facade of today's

buildings and envision Crescent City's colorful past and landmarks like

the old courthouse, the Crescent City Public School and the Endert Opera

House. Learn what it was like when those buildings were still standing

and discover their fate. Michelle will share compelling stories you may

never have heard before about places you've never seen. But let your

imagination run wild and you may see them Thursday night! The walk will

end at the Tsunami Memorial Fountain in Tsunami Plaza where Historical

Society expert Bob Ames will recount the events of the tidal wave of

March 1964.

This is a free event, although I'm sure our Historical Society would

appreciate any donations toward its lighthouse restoration project. It's

important - especially at this special time of the year - to

acknowledge and applaud the contributions the Del Norte Historical

Society makes to our community.

I can't wait for Thursday night. The forecast is for a dry evening

with a low temperature of a comfortable 46. That's perfect weather for

the first-ever Jingle Bell Walk! Not only will our downtown's history be

brought to life Thursday night, but we'll be making history as well.

See you there.

Reach Michele Thomas, the Del Norte Triplicate's publisher, at

mtandshy;hoandshy;masandshy;@triplicate.com, 464-2141 or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.