Community Christmas Tree
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The annual Community Christmas Tree Program was held in Fargo on this date in 1922. Three thousand children filled the Fargo Civic Auditorium, creating an enormous Christmas children’s choir for the evening. The program, which did not allow adults to enter or participate, began in 1919 during World War I as a way for the community’s children to celebrate Christmas together. Fargo organizations sponsored the event, hoping to give children at least one carefree evening to celebrate the holiday. And even if the kids would have little to look forward to on Christmas morning, Santa Claus was sure to make an appearance each year at the Community program, his sack filled with donated gifts to hand out to each child.
Sponsored by the Business Women’s Club, the 1922 program featured the Boy Scout Band, a silent film called Animals of the Bronx Park Zoo, singing by the Camp Fire Girls, and dancing by students of the deLendrecie School of Dancing. All of the children joined in singing Christmas carols, led by musical director Miss Ada Blakeslee. Many children also performed, singing and dancing for the audience. Margaret Fleming and Betty Lofthouse performed an “Eccentric Dance.” Honey Harmon performed a Dutch song and dance; and Betty Harrington sang “Stick of Candy.” The Boy Scout Band provided accompaniment, directed by Dr. E. E. Long. The auditorium was resplendent, with the stage featuring a moon-lit winter scene of snow-covered evergreens, and the largest Christmas tree in Fargo took center-stage, covered in ornaments and lights and topped with a large silvery star. Miss Mina Holm, community tree chairwoman, claimed it was the largest gathering of children ever witnessed in the city. Once the auditorium was filled to capacity, firemen ordered the doors shut to keep the crowd from growing. Many parents, hoping to gain entry, were left out in the cold.
At the end of the program, jolly St. Nick himself appeared on stage. He wandered up and down the aisles, handing out bags of nuts, fruit, and candy. Company B and the Headquarters Company were on hand to assist Santa in the happy chaos. The 1922 Program was considered a great success that night, as a record number of Fargo youngsters headed home to their waiting parents.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job
The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Thursday, December 21, 1922 (Evening
Edition): p. 2.
The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Saturday, December 23, 1922 (Evening
Edition): p. 2.