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For about 60 years the Mount Eden Ruritan Club has been a mainstay in the community, and for about 20 of those years its members have been responsible for bringing the community together around Christmas to celebrate the town’s good fortune.
Small community celebrations, whether its Bagdad Days, Cropper Days or Labor Day in Waddy, are getting more and more difficult to maintain, organizers say, because of the urbanization of American life.
Even as Harrisonville Pentecostal Church has had to cancel its Christmas in Harrisonville celebration, Mount Eden, however, has been able to hold on.
The event, which is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, has even expanded to two venues this year, adding the Mount Moriah Baptist Church to the regular Ruritan Club venue.
“We’ve used the church in the past but only for gospel singing,” said Marie Perry, who’s worked with the event for years. “It’s a little bigger this year, and we’re hoping by spreading it out, we can draw a bigger crowd.”
But even with the success of Mount Eden’s event, it hasn’t come without struggle.
“It seems like people are spreading out,” Perry said. “It’s been difficult to keep things going on. We’re hoping this year can help build it back up.”
Tony Carriss, the long time magistrate in the Mount Eden area, said the event is important to that community.
“It’s a big community event,” he said. “A whole lot of Shelby Countians come out to Mount Eden for it, and it’s a lot of good work by the churches and the Ruritan Club.”
Just last year the club brought back the giant, 18-foot snowman, and this year it has brought back train rides.
“We’ve added kids games this year, and we had lost the train rides in the past but they’re back this year, too,” Perry said. “We also have more craft and vendor booths, seventeen, than we’ve had in the last few years.”
Although the number of volunteers may be coming up short, there will be no shortage of those that come out for the festivities.
“We really try to bring the community together,” Perry said. “There’s something for everyone in the family, and entertainment that will last all evening long.”
At the Ruritan Club there will chili, hot dogs, sandwiches and homemade pies, and children can expect a visit from Santa Claus.
Children can enjoy the train rides at Mount Moriah Baptist Church while parents take in gospel music. A trolley will be there to provide rides between the two locations.
Finchville’s Christmas party
At Finchville’s event, which is 5 p.m. on Dec. 17, at the Finchville Ruritan Club on KY 55, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there along with Rudolph and some elves to try and sway the Grinch from ruining Christmas.
Christmas in Mount Eden
WHEN:5-7 p.m. today
WHERE:Mount Eden Ruritan Club and Mount Moriah Church
FEATURING:food, Santa, gospel singing, an 18-foot snowman, train rides
Finchville Ruritan Christmas party
WHEN:5 p.m., Dec. 17
WHERE:Finchville Ruritan Club
FEATURING:food, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Grinch and elves