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Christmas on the Prairie returns to Bonanzaville

Bonanzaville in West Fargo is decorated for this Saturday's Christmas on the Prairie event that runs from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.David Samson / The Forum

Decorations are hung, fires are ready to start and cookie dough has been mixed at Bonanzaville in preparation for the pioneer village's annual Christmas on the Prairie event, which will take place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

Special Events Coordinator Melissa Warren said more than 3,500 people may be expected at this year's Christmas celebration that seems to grow each year. Last year, nearly 2,800 to 3,000 attended the old-fashioned event.

Warren said this year's event will have an affordable admission rate of $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger.

"We know the holidays can be very stressful financially for families, so we wanted to help that and we will have very discounted admission," Warren said.

Throughout the day, families can visit the village where historic demonstrations will be on display and enjoy readings of the story of Fargo's first Christmas tree.

All can make s'mores over an open fire, enjoy the sledding hill and ice skating rink if weather permits.

Carolers will be found throughout the village as well, and horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides will be provided throughout the day.

"It depends on how much snow we have," Warren said. "If we have enough snow, it will be a sleigh."

Visitors can help bake cookies in a wood-burning stove at the Habberstad cabin, design a Christmas card and print it on an old press, or enjoy a lefse demonstration in the Hagen House, Warren said.

At Dawson Hall, kids can make their own crafts, create a gingerbread house or join a painting party, another new event for this year's Christmas on the Prairie, Warren said.

Santa will be visiting Bonanzaville on Saturday for kids to put in their Christmas order, or they will be able to "dial up" the elves at the North Pole directly.

Bonanzaville, which is operated by the Cass County Historical Society, has hosted the annual event since at least 2012, Warren said. The staff there has been busy building up an old-fashioned Christmas spirit all week.

"The decor around here is amazing," Warren said. "We have gone above and beyond to get people in the Christmas spirit."

The pioneer village and museum are closed for the season, but they're still available for event rentals and special events. The village and museum will open again on May 1.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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