Christmas in Crestwood was established in 2014 when 5 residents were brainstorming beautification ideas for our city. Not wanting to wait until warmer weather, our founder Sue Bremehr suggested using Christmas Trees as the basis for their project. The group decorated City Hall and launched a Holiday Tree Decorating Contest for businesses. They put on an event at City Hall called Santa is Coming to Crestwood where children could get their photo taken with Santa and take home a goody bag.
Over the next 3 years, Christmas in Crestwood attracted more volunteers, sponsors, and participants. We added the Santa Car Cruise, car show, fireworks, and the Holiday Lights House Decorating Contest. We also reached out to our churches and started the tradition of a Pastors Lunch which connects pastors to city leaders..
During 2018, our 5th year, we added Christmas in Crestwood radio where businesses could submit their 5 favorite Christmas songs. Word had spread because our Santa event at City Hall was packed.
2019 was our biggest year yet. City Hall was being renovated due to flood damage, so we moved to St Elizabeth’s Church. The bigger space allowed us to host a Winter Wonderland with business-sponsored family activities, face painting, balloon animals, and photos with Santa. We continued the tree and house decorating contests, car cruise, fireworks, food drive for goody bags, and radio station.
We realized we wanted to make a difference to our community throughout the year, not just Christmastime, so we updated our mission statement to reflect this. It now reads “Connecting Crestwood businesses and area residents through the true spirit of Crestwood year-round!” One way we do this is through sharing information about our businesses and community events on our Facebook page.
In 2020, COVID-19 canceled many of our plans. So volunteers thought outside the “gift” box and developed events and activities that allowed for social distancing. We introduced the Children’s Essay Writing Contest, a Where’s Santa Photographic Scavenger Hunt, and a Shop Crestwood receipt contest. We still had the food drive for goody bags, car cruise, fireworks, and radio station.
2021 was a tough year for us. In addition to continued COVID-19 concerns, our Founder and Director Sue Bremehr died suddenly. We also lost our beloved Santa, Ted Ricks. But volunteers stepped up and kept the Celebration on track because we knew it was what Sue would have wanted.
In 2022, we were able to go back to St Elizabeth’s and hold our Winter Wonderland with indoor activities such as clowns making balloon animals, face painting, business-sponsored kids activities, and pictures with Santa. We continued the same contests as in previous years as well as the car cruise and fireworks.
We are currently planning events for 2023, our 10th Anniversary. Stay tuned!