Neoga To Host Hometown Christmas

From left, Ashley Hartke, Marny Fitzpatrick and Mindi Haarman look over the tree toppers that will be available for pick-up at the Neoga Hometown Christmas on Dec. 1.

NEOGA — Neoga’s Christmas Tree Lighting is getting an upgrade this year with added activities to make it a Neoga Hometown Christmas.

Six weeks ago a committee was formed for the event, which is co-chaired by Mindi Haarman and Ashley Hartke. This is the fifth year for the tree lighting but the first year for all the other activities.

Neoga’s Hometown Christmas will be held on Sunday, Dec. 1 from 2 to 6 p.m. The event will include ice skating, reindeer sleigh rides, horse carriage rides, kids crafts, story hour, Santa, tree lighting ceremony, photo booth, live music and more. Ice skating will be $5 per person and other activities are donation only. Musical entertainment will be provided by an a cappella group, Neoga High School choir. According to Haarman, they are trying to involve the youth and schools as much as possible.

The Christmas Tree Farm area will be for those who have ordered evergreen tree toppers. They will be available for pickup and the tree farm will have some extra on hand that will be available for purchase.

Food that will be available for purchase will include Sweet Tea’z out of Charleston, Neoga Partnership for Progress will have potato soup and chili soup for sale. Other items that can be purchased are kettle corn and corn dogs. Hot chocolate, cider and cookies are available by donation only.

The lighted parade will be held at 6 p.m. with lineup beginning at 5 p.m. For more information or to register for the parade, call 895-5800. The theme for the parade will be Christmas movies. There is no entry fee.

Hartke said the event is something they have always wanted to do and they have received a ton of support from the community.

“We went to all the businesses and told them our ideas,” she said. “it was unbelievable the amount of businesses that wanted to step up and make this possible.”

All of the events will be taking place on Route 45 and Sixth Street with the exception of the ice skating, which will be in the Sarah Bush clinic parking lot.

“We want everyone to come and enjoy the event at a low cost,” Haarman said. “there’s something for everyone.”

Crystal Reed can be reached at or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 131


Crystal Reed is a reporter for the Effingham Daily News, covering towns in the eastern coverage area. She is a graduate of Richland Community College and Eastern Illinois University with degrees in journalism. She is originally from Decatur.

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