SMSA Lorraine Roach

Stevensville Main Street Association Executive Director Lorraine Roach promotes the “Splendor on Main Gala” and “A Montana Country Christmas,” a community celebration the first Friday and Saturday in December.

MICHELLE MCCONNAHA michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com

“Splendor on Main Gala” a fundraising and social event hosted by the Stevensville Main Street Association, takes place Saturday, Dec. 2.

The Stevensville Christmas season launches with First Friday, A Montana Country Christmas, and Nativity at St. Mary’s Mission, which also are being held this weekend.

Lorraine Roach, executive director, said it is the “Christmas party of the season.”

“It is a gala fun evening with ... a local high school quartet playing Christmas music,” Roach said.

The event will raise funds for the Stevensville Main Street Association, a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in the thriving community.

The tickets - $50 per person or $360 for a table of eight - include hors d'oeuvres catered by Mission Bistro, a variety of wine from the Burnt Fork Market’s wine shop, and micro-brews from Wildwood Brewery and Blacksmith Brewing.

A live and silent auction for items in a variety of price ranges also will be held.

Jason Clinkenbeard of Rivers West Auction will take the highest bids for a Disney vacation package; a Montana outdoor adventures package; a Missoula sports-lovers package that includes Grizzly football and basketball, Lady Griz, Osprey, and Bruins tickets; a hand-made Russian olive slab table with wrought iron legs; a spa package; a holiday wreath; a Best of the Bitterroot “staycation” package; a fishing package; a giant dollhouse; and art work created by Montana artists.

Silent Auction items include a range of gift baskets provided by local businesses, ranging from a "man basket" to a gardening basket.

People also may purchase handmade wood-copper-wrought iron table centerpieces and win a spectacular Christmas tree decorated by Jan Perrin.

Roached praised the committee and volunteers who works together to organize the components.

The “Splendor on Main Gala” has been an annual fundraising event that aids different programs of the Stevensville Main Street Association, like First Friday events, Western Heritage Days, and the Scarecrow Festival.

“We also provide a lot of assistance to local organizations and groups,” Roach said.

SMSA assists property owners of historic building with energy upgrades or remodeling options to preserve the historic character of buildings; helps businesses fill job vacancies, and aids new businesses with marketing, diversifying, and reach new customer groups.

The organization also provides information to the community about social services or assistance for people with economic or physical assistance needs.

“We refer people to different agencies and businesses, like the food pantry and subsidized housing,” Roach said. “We work with closely with other non-profits like St. Mary’s Mission and Friends of Fort Owen, the Civic Club, the Garden Club and we’re working on grant writing and supporting grants that have been written by those organizations and the town.”

The “Splendor on Main Gala” is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and will be held at The Living Center, 63 Main St. in Stevensville. Tickets are available at the Main Street office, 102B Main St., or online at mainstreetstevensville.ticketspice.com/splendor.

The Christmas season is ushered in with “A Montana Country Christmas” and the lighting of the community fir tree in Veteran’s Park at the north end of Stevensville at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

“The tree will be lit, all the lights over the street and on businesses will be lit,” Roach said.

Arrive at 6:15 p.m. wearing warm clothing and carrying a flashlight. Once everything is lit, the high school will lead caroling as everyone walks downtown to Third and Main Streets for the living nativity.

“They have kids dressed up as nativity participants – Mary and Joseph and they have real sheep. I don’t think there is a camel but there might be a donkey,” Roach said. “They read the Christmas story from Luke and then sing 'Away in the Manger' and other Christmas songs.”

When the celebration of the nativity ends, Santa arrives in a horse-drawn wagon lit with Christmas lights. He sets up in the Kohl building behind Valley Drug for visiting and photos with children.

A children's carnival is upstairs at Groovz Dance Studio, three horse-drawn wagons are giving free rides, businesses will stay open late for shopping, and nonprofit organizations will have tables of information and sales of hot chocolate along Main Street.

“St. Mary’s Mission will be open with a big display of nativities and Christmas dolls,” Roach said. “They have an open house at the historic chapel; it is great. There will be a lot going on at the same time.”

The North Valley Public Library is hosting the “Squeeze Box Sisters,” providing Christmas accordion music on Friday.

There mission, library and downtown Stevensville also are home to a varity of activities on Saturday.

“It’s a big weekend,” Roach said.

For more information, call the Stevensville Main Street Association at 777-3773 or check out the Main Street Stevensville Facebook page.

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