Muskego - Let the hot chocolate flow and the Christmas lights glow, it's Muskego Country Christmas time again.

The parade with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and some of their reindeer as the stars in the eyes of every kid, will step off at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. After the parade, Santa will collect Christmas wishes from little ones, while families pose for photos with Santa's reindeer and enjoy hayrides and kiddie rides, a live Nativity scene, strolling carolers and other holiday fun all topped off with the lighting of Muskego's official Christmas tree.

"A Picture Perfect Christmas" is the theme this year and parade floats will reflect that magical sentiment. The parade will start at Pioneer Drive and Janesville Road, going south on Pioneer and ending at Veterans Memorial Park across from the city hall, W182 S8200 Racine Ave.

Roscoe, the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team mascot, will be back after his parade debut last year. With him will be all the parade favorites including the Muskego High School band.

"Everyone enjoys them," said Krisann Durnford, who is coordinating the parade for the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce. The kids add a dash of dancing, Durnford said, "That's always wonderful."

Also, the Muskego Lions will be back with their miniature motorized rowboats all festooned with Christmas finery.

New ride for Santa

Santa and Mrs. Claus, who usually ride in a decorated haywagon, will be aboard a Tess Corners Volunteer Fire Department vehicle this year. That's because the department is celebrating its 90th anniversary and the Jolly Old Elf and the Mrs. and the parade organizers wanted to salute the fire department's service to Muskego.

The after-parade festivities will start at 2 p.m. at the Old Settlement Centre, W184 S8074 Racine Ave., next to Veterans Park.

There, Santa will hold court in the historic schoolhouse. Outside, reindeer will pose for family photos for a fee.

There also will be tractor-drawn hayrides and kiddie train rides. The hayrides will go into the wooded part of the grounds, adding a dash of country for the riders. The cost is $3 for each ride.

Meanwhile, puppet shows telling a Christmas story will be in the Old Town Hall at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. The presentations are geared to young children.

Organizers also were hoping that the hilarious business mascot Christmas gift dash will happen again this year. The dash features mascots in a relay race that has different winners but always ends in hilarity, Durnford said. If all goes according to plan, it should be about 2:30 p.m.

Live Nativity

Once again, the Muskego Apostolic Tabernacle will present live Nativity scenes inside the historic church on the grounds. The presentations will be at 3 and 4 p.m., both with musical accompaniment by the Saved by One Trio a cappella singers.

"It's very touching," Durnford said, and the little church is always packed. But people also can see well from outside, she said.

The 4 p.m. presentation is particularly special because the night is coming, adding more atmosphere, Durnford said.

Saved by One will add to the Christmas atmosphere by caroling through the grounds during the afternoon.

Christmas treats

Christmas treats will be available at the festival in the form of hot chocolate, hot apple cider, Basse's Country Farm apple cinnamon doughnuts, fancy Christmas cookies by Slice custom cakes, kettle corn, and snacks in the chamber of commerce tent. San Laurio Coffeehouse also will serve coffee with holiday flavorings in the log house on the historic grounds, and will feature live music inside.

As night falls, Santa will officiate at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Saved By One will lead the Christmas caroling.

The Rainbow Child Care Center that is building a location in Muskego is the sponsor for the Christmas tree this year. Festival and parade sponsors include Safeway Pest Management, Jetz Convenience Center, Inpro, Callen Construction, Jerome Drugs, Gerald Boisits law office, American Family Insurance agent Margaret Moll, Joyce Paisley Photography and Serendipity Redesign whose owner Nicole Hahne also is chairwoman of the celebration.

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