From the Publisher's Desk: Making history this Thursday night

By Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate December 20, 2011 01:46 pm

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 mt­ho­mas­@triplicate.com, 464-2141 or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.