Town turns out for the Claus [UPDATED]Published 9:42am Tuesday, December 4, 2012 Updated 11:43am Tuesday, December 4, 2012
For a town of less than 500 people, Ashby goes all out for its community events, including Saturday’s Santa Day. While the all-day celebration had back to back events, unique contributions from residents made it a day to remember.
David Kaste has been giving free horse drawn wagon rides around town during the holidays for about 20 years. Kaste lives on a 150 acre homestead just outside of town where he breeds Percheron and rare Blue Roan horses. Right now he has about 35 brood mares, stallions and colts, plus a few mules. He breeds, breaks and ships horses all over the country, as well as being a grandpa babysitter to four grandchildren.
Last year, the Ashby Sports Boosters added a Holiday Tour of Homes to the Santa day line-up. This year they added pre-tour soup lunch at the home of Kathy and Chad VanSanten. The simmering aroma of chicken noodle and beef barley soups, fresh bread and cookies mingled with holiday music and twinkling lights.
Cafe tables were set up around the main floor of the VanSanten home, with a backdrop of country holiday décor fit for a magazine. Guests could make a free-will offering for the lunch, before heading out for the rest of the home tour.
“Each home is decorated for the holidays by folks in their own way,” said Kathy VanSanten. “I like to go look at how people have decorated for the holidays, so we thought others might enjoy it too.”
Other homes participating in the tour were Lowell and Dawn Fluwellen, Ken and Joan Johnson, Chuck and Chille Anderson, Charles and Lu Schultz and Jeremy and Jackie Anderson.
Funds collected from the tour help pay for sports related expenses at Ashby School, including banners, team equipment and transportation.
Other activities on Santa Day included a free barbeque lunch at the Senior Center and a holiday craft show at the American Legion. Of course no Santa Day would be complete without a visit from the jolly old elf himself.
While it’s rumored in town that if Santa gets enough of his work done at the North Pole, he makes a personal visit to town, Jarl Knuteson and his wife Glenice are happy to fill in. They’ve been playing Santa and Mrs. Claus for about ten years. Even though the couple now lives in Elk River, when Santa needed a little help this year, they heeded the call and headed out to the decked-out private dining room at the Ashby City Café.