The stars --- including notable local ones --- were in perfect alignment Friday evening to make Hammer Medical Supply one of the most popular stops on the square during Chariton's annual Dazzlefest celebration, capped by a lighted Christmas parade, all sponsored by Chariton Area Chamber-Main Street.
The Lucas County Historical Society was in charge of the decorating at Hammer --- ranks of military uniforms and related items from our collection aligned in the front windows and a big Christmas tree decorated with U.S. flags, red, white and blue lights --- and cans of Spam.
We were aiming to honor the World War II service record of Lucas Countyans --- and the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. As part of that effort, Kara Milledge Rich (left), her daughter Alexa, Laura Miller and her mother, Brandy, volunteered to perform.
They formed a wonderful tribute ensemble, mirroring the close harmony singing groups popular during the war, and sang and danced their way through a full hour's program of seasonal music that kept the hundreds of people who stopped in beautifully entertained.
Kara and Brandy, especially, dressed the part --- including vintage mink that came in handy when we all went outside at 7 to watch the parade.
The culinary stars of the evening were Sandy and Tim Stroud, of PC Repair Services, who served up chili and/or hot dogs to all comers. This was an independent operation --- but worked beautifully in conjunction with the entertainment. By 7 p.m., the crowd had eaten everything in sight.
Our smallest stars were booked through Chamber-Main Street and were in charge of distributing peanuts roasted earlier in the week at the museum in the vintage Piper's Grocery roaster. We went through more than 200 sacks in no time flat and easily could have given away many more.
Thanks to all --- the Hammer staff for opening their doors to us, the Strouds for feeding us, Kara, Alexa, Brandy and Laura for the entertainment and the littlest stars, for helping out. It was great to see so many people --- thanks to all who stopped in, too.
And thanks to all of the Historical Society personnel who helped out --- Bob Ulrich and Jerry Pierschbacher for roasting and bagging the peanuts, Jim Secor and Kathleen Dittmer, who added hard candy and museum cards before stapling the bags shut, Kay Brown and Rex Johnson, who acquired our big Christmas tree at Hunter Tree Farm and set it up, and all who helped put the whole thing together Friday morning --- Bob and his two grandsons, Ann Moon, Jim and Kathleen, Kylie and Karoline Dittmer.
The military items will remain on display in the Hammer Medical Supply windows until Monday in case you'd like to take another look. Everything will return to the museum after that and the big tree (minus the Spam, which will go to the food bank) will be installed on the front porch of the Stephens House to mark the season.