All the Happy Lights!


The year was 1993 and we had just moved from California to Boston and it was one our first Christmases in a place that actually felt like Christmas with snow, and hats and gloves and mittens and coats and all the rigamarole that winter entails with three kids (what a hassle for my poor mom to get used to!). But it also meant that we got a real Christmas tree and we saw the snow blanket trees in that magical way that it does. In Massachusetts people go CRAZY for Christmas. Or maybe it just seemed like that after living in a place with no particular winter. My mom, who had never been much for the holiday, said she finally understood why people got so nuts about it. In the northern hemisphere (and particularly where the nights are long and super cold) we need the extra dose of joy in our lives. That year was one of my favorite Christmas memories. My three year old little brother would shriek with joy each time he saw a particularly festive light display “THERE’S ONE!” It became one of our favorite things about Christmas, driving around in our iconic 90’s Mercury station wagon looking at lights.

This week the Chamber got our panel of judges together and did the light judging for the Light Up Lead decorating contest. It was so much fun to see all the lights and work that has gone into a really spectacular year! The weather surely helped get people outside and we had a lot more entrants and have noticed more lights than in recent memory everywhere in the region! I seriously can’t wait until Everett is old enough to enjoy this as much as I still do!

We are super thankful to everyone who decorated – competing or not – it makes Lead look extra cheerful! This is also pretty much the best activity for this year, you can do it alone, or with friends, you can do it at any time of evening and it’s free!

We hope you enjoy some time this month to drive around and check out all the great decor this year! We put together a map of the entrants, which makes a fun hour long drive around town to get you started. See that map here! We hope in a few years Lead becomes THEE place for people to come and visit lights!

We’ll be announcing the winners as soon as we get all the votes in and tallied! Check back on Friday when we’ll update the page.

______ Here’s what’s going on in Lead _______

Thursday, 12/3

3-7pm – Christmas Tours of the Adams House Museum. This event will be Thursday – Saturday this weekend and next. Enjoy the house all decked out in its holiday finest in a self guided tour. Masks are required and there is an entrance fee. Check out for more info and tickets.

Monday, 12/7

10am – The Historic Homestake Opera House is having their annual festival of trees online this year. Auction items including artwork, antiques, Broadway Memorabilia, DMG Concert Tickets, Gift Baskets, Sports Memorabilia and Resort stays will be on offer. Sign up, view items and bid at the auction will run through 12/10. You can view items in person at several locations including down here at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center.

5pm – City Commission Meeting, at City Hall

Tuesday, 12/8 – 7pm – Texas Hold ‘em for fun at Hangar 7 Lounge at Blackstone Lodge and Suites. Come hang out and enjoy a fun mid week evening!

Wednesday, 12/9

5pm-6:45 – Come see Santa at the Ray Davis Ring Patio outside the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center! Santa and his sleigh will be outside and there will be a photographer with photos available for purchase! The Chamber will serve hot drinks and all are welcome to join in caroling!  This event is free but we always welcome donations!  In case of inclement weather we may move the party inside.

6pm – Santa not your deal? Maybe you’d like trivia at Jailhouse Taps while you wait to walk up the street to the….

7pm – Community Tree Lighting with Santa at the tree across the street from the Post Office on Main Street! We’ll be doing this in conjunction with the Lead Volunteer Fire Department. Come enjoy this festive outdoor activity.

Explore Fitness and Adventures has an amazing lineup of classes and activities including children’s and adult ballet, mommy and me dance, fitness classes and group adventures! Check out the whole schedule on Facebook, or by going to our full community calendar

______News & Notes_____

Please welcome our newest member and 2021 Annual Sponsor – Thyssen Mining! We’re thrilled to have them in town, and excited about our partnership! They will be working on a contract for the lab to do some of the excavation work for the big neutrino project. We look forward to meeting them and working together on coming projects!

Due to our sad lack of snow and cold enough weather Terry Peak has been behind on the snow making – so they’ve moved the opening weekend to NEXT weekend. Be advised that this is still tentative at this point and check their website for all details!

Blackstone Lodge & Suites is doing their Boxes of Hope again this year starting on Saturday 11/28. If you’d like to donate they’re looking for gloves, socks, after-school snacks, non-perishable food items, pet supplies including blankets, toys, food and cat litter. These donations will be dispersed to the Boys and Girls Club, Twin City Animal Shelter, and the Lord’s Cupboard on 12/21.

The St. Patrick’s Cookie Fair will be on Saturday, 12/12 from 8:30 am – 11:30 am. If you’d like to order pre-made trays, call Rita Loeffen at 722-7794.

The Gift Shop at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center is having a Christmas SALE! Members receive 15% off until Christmas Eve and anyone can receive 10% with a purchase of $50 or more. If you spend $200 you can get a FREE Silver Elegance piece of jewelry. Come check out our new sweatshirts, half zip sweaters, women’s tank tops and fun kids science stuff!

TREE ON CAR – get out there! This game is simple, you agree who you’re playing with and let everyone know the rules. 1 point for a tree on/in a car. 2 points if it’s a red pick up truck. Tally up your points on Christmas day and whoever has the most wins (you can determine your prize beforehand)! Grab your permit for cutting your own Christmas tree out of the woods. Find out details, rules and more info here:


If you enjoy these emails the very best gift you could give me is forwarding to someone else to enjoy and be part of all that we’re doing in Lead – even if they don’t live in the Black Hills! I have more than a few readers who love to stay in touch with us from out of state. Thanks to all of you and I hope you have a very merry week!

With love from Lead,
Sierra Ward

p.s. Thanks Jonathan Hansen – this shout out’s for you, for reminding me I had an email to get to! 🙂

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