Despite a temperature colder than a frozen mug and a wind that rattled through town with all the subtlety of a Joe Frazier left-hook, the St. James Christmas parade pressed on Friday evening. During the parade, participants tossed and handed out candy, and Santa Claus also made an appearance. Dave Ciske, pastor at the Assembly of God church in St. James, was out on the sidewalk a few minutes before the parade rumbled through with his wife, Stevie, and his children, Zech, 8, Lily, 7, Ruby, 3, and Nate, 2. The family also took in the parade last year, and he said, “the kids really liked it.” “It's something for them to watch and do, and we love Christmas,” he said. “They love the holiday lights; it dazzles them and makes it fun.” Cassondra Harder was with her mother, Diane, and Nick Samuelson out in front of the Stray Cat Coffee House as the parade wound to a conclusion. All three are from Mt. Lake, and they were impressed with the event. “We wanted to have some cider and see the happenings,” said the younger Harder. Her mother added, “It's very cool that a town this size puts that on, and (it shows) great community support.” “I loved Santa in the sombrero,” she continued. “It's multi-cultural, and a good way to bring people to the city.” Samuelson spoke for all three when he added, “It shows the Christmas spirit of the community.” The only one who wasn't bothered by the adverse temperatures Friday was the reindeer, Penny. Though the inimical weather Friday forced most humans indoors--and drove the ones brave enough to be outside to hot drinks and multiple layers of clothing--Penny was in her element. Reindeer much prefer this weather to warm summers. “When we had that recent snow, the whole herd ran around the pasture and just loved it,” said Yvonne Simon, Penny's owner. In her cage, Penny had a red bucket full of snow, because reindeer prefer to eat snow as their water source rather than drinking. Out of all the reindeer on the ranch, Penny drew this assignment because “she's laid-back and can adjust to a situation like this” with all the people, noise, and lights, Simon said. The reindeer was sponsored by Stray Cat Coffee House and Lingbeek Design. For the full story on Friday's Christmas event, please see Thursday's print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.