Flandreau will kick off the season with a holiday parade of lights Saturday, led by parade grand marshal Beverly Wakeman.
The parade, with the theme of an old-fashioned Flandreau Christmas, will start at 6 p.m. and travel down Second Avenue. Lineups for floats will be at 5:30 p.m. south of the Moody County Courthouse.
Wakeman, 86, is the oldest member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and an active community volunteer.
She grew up in Flandreau and joined the Gordon Weston Post of the VFW Auxiliary when she was 16, participating as a lifetime member until the local auxiliary disbanded recently. She now belongs to the auxiliary in Brookings and continues to put flags on graves at the Indian cemetery each Memorial Day, with the help of a grandson.
“If I’m going to belong to something, I should take part. I should do what I can,” she said of her community involvement.
Wakeman worked for six years at the Flandreau hospital before working at the Flandreau Indian School in the facilities area for 40 years, retiring in 2004.
She belongs to the Second Presbyterian Church, is a 50-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star and is on the board of the Moody County Historical Society. Except for the winter months, she and her friends go to aquanastics in Pipestone three times a week, and she has coffee daily at the Grace Moore Center.
Wakeman has three children – two sons and a daughter. While her sons have died, her daughter from Aberdeen will spend Thanksgiving with her mother in Flandreau.
After the Christmas parade, which is organized by the Flandreau Development Corporation, Wakeman will light the trees on the front lawn of the Moody County Courthouse.
The old-fashioned Christmas theme ties in with Flandreau’s Sesquicentennial celebration this past summer, and organizers with the FDC want people to come up with floats and entries depicting the traditions of a Flandreau Christmas.
After the tree lighting, Flandreau Bistro & Roasterie will extend its hours and be open with some specials, along with other downtown businesses.
For questions about the parade, call Carleen Wild Wilson at 608-692-0651 or Jessica Hovland at 864-0242.
In addition to the parade, a holiday lights contest is being held with judging on Dec. 10, and the courthouse will have its indoor Christmas Tree Festival open during regular business hours during the holiday season.