Thanks to a few special groups, the Navajo County Fair’s 2022 Classic Christmas Stories event helped needy families and organizations throughout the county.
Michelle Stock, event director for the Navajo County Fair, is incredibly grateful to everyone who helped organize, sponsor or attended this year’s Classic Christmas Stories.
The event was held on Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 16-17. White Mountain residents were invited to Martinez Hall on the Navajo County Fairgrounds to enjoy holiday fun, all themed around the classic Christmas stories everyone grew up with.
“We would decorate each room accordingly and had live characters to host the children,” Stock explained. “We put together rooms based on popular, classic Christmas stories, like “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “The Grinch,” and “The Little Drummer Boy,” and made sure to include themes for the Nativity and Santa Claus.”
Stock is no stranger to holiday-themed events. When she owned Stock Up Feed & Tack in Taylor, she planned public events around Halloween, and similar setups would be used just before Christmas.
“After we closed down, I took the idea with me,” she said with a laugh. The new open-concept layout, as opposed to the closed rooms and sections they’ve used in previous years, helped make for a more social and overall better experience for those who attended.
“Parents got to watch their kids and grandkids walk around and meet their favorite characters. They got to enjoy hot cups of chocolate, complete different projects over in the workshop and visit with friends they would meet inside. That wasn’t possible when everything was so sectioned off, so that was an unexpected and welcome change,” said Stock.
Stock made sure to secure sponsors for each themed room in the event with hopes of being able to take the proceeds from the event and spread them around needy organizations and programs in Navajo County such as schools and shelters of various kinds.
“We ended up with $2,000, so we got 20 $100 bills and gave them to different places around the Mountain,” she said. Those funds enabled donations of $100 to shelters, schools and local organizations that could use a boost during the holiday season.
These included shelters and resource centers in Winslow, Holbrook and Pinetop. Taylor Elementary School, Snowflake Elementary School and Snowflake Intermediate were also given a portion of the event proceeds.
Stock said, “When I was at Taylor Elementary School, I asked the woman at the front, ‘Do you know a family in need?’ She said, ‘I absolutely do, and you have no idea how many.’ ” Realizing another community need, Stock and members of the NCF board began reaching out to their communities in the hope of tracking down needy families.
When all the funds were distributed, Stock said the events proceeds went to families in Winslow, Holbrook, Joseph City, Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, McNary, Whiteriver, Snowflake-Taylor and the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
“I almost cried every time,” Stock admitted. “We made donations all over the county, thanks, in part, to the people who came to the event and enabled us to do that. That’s the true meaning of Christmas — giving to people that need it, and it’s such a blessing to help spread a little Christmas cheer.”
Stock wanted to personally thank everyone in the community who attended or sponsored Classic Christmas Stories and enabled them to make these donations.
She named Mike Sample, Rusty Despain, Marshall Losey, Anna Amos, Valerie Slade, Redgie Justman, Shawn Meastas, Tim Kelley, Paul Van Zelf, Hoby Wilhelm, Jack Babb, Vanessa Drevnick, Kordale Despain, JR Despain, Leah Thomas, Steve Thomas, Gary Hayes and Anna Dewitt specifically.
“Thank you to the board members for the encouragement and support to make all events held throughout the year successful,” Stock said. “We have a busy year ahead of us. I’m so excited to see what good we’ll be able to accomplish next year.”
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