Colony Christmas kicks off this weekend in Palmer

The annual holiday celebration has been the small town’s tradition for decades
The annual holiday celebration has been the small town’s tradition for decades
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 7:45 PM AKST
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - It might be on the chillier side this weekend, but the recent bout of snowfall has set a picture-perfect scene out in Palmer and just in time for Colony Christmas. The annual holiday celebration has been a tradition in the small Matanuska-Susitna Borough city for over 30 years, transforming the quaint community into a tinsel town filled with Christmas-themed activities.

There’s tons and tons of stuff going on, from Nativity displays to cookie contests, to gingerbread contests, to craft fairs, and of course, the fireworks parade,” Executive Director for the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce Ailis Vann said.

On Friday morning, the Palmer Train Depot was bustling with vendors setting up their booths for the Arts & Crafts Fair. Among the retailers was popular local cartoonist Chad Carpenter, who said this was the first time he’s attended Colony Christmas.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but I’m always engaged with other shows,” Carpenter stated. “Since I live just down the road, I want to start doing more shows closer to home.”

Back again with its popular Festival of Trees fundraising raffle is Mat-Su Special Santa, a program operating under the umbrella of Alaska Family Services that helps valley residents in need receive gifts for their children. The Festival of Trees raffles off a number of small synthetic Christmas trees decorated with gift cards and small items. For only $1 per ticket, it’s a steal of a deal toward a good cause.

“Each tree has been on display for the last week and a half at local businesses in downtown Palmer and some in Wasilla,” said Rachel Schoonover, a volunteer for the program. “We’ve had people come in today before we were even set up looking for the trees, so I think they really like it.”

The main event takes place Saturday evening at 5 p.m. with the Parade of Lights followed by a fireworks display in downtown Palmer. The Palmer water tower is also anticipated to flip the switch on its new set of lights after running a successful GoFundMe campaign earlier this year after the January windstorm took out the old ones.

Colony Christmas runs from Dec. 9 - Dec. 11, a full schedule of events can be found here.