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Fort Sumner Hosts Winterfest 1998 Fort Sumner Hosts Winterfest 1998

LAS CRUCES -- Thousands of twinkling lights and several giant Christmas cards will brighten the night Dec. 12 as residents and visitors to Fort Sumner gather in Dallas Park for the third annual Winterfest.

A lighting ceremony in the park at 5:30 p.m. will kick off the festivities. Horse-drawn wagon rides will follow a special trail down Fort Sumner's historic streets, decorated with about 800 luminarias.

The giant Christmas cards, which measure about 4 feet by 8 feet each, are sponsored by local businesses and offer colorful depictions of a variety of holiday scenes, said Mike Cook with New Mexico State University's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism (REDTT) project.

Children and youth choirs also will perform throughout the day, he said. Kids can visit Santa Claus and there will be drawings for prizes by local merchants as part of Fort Sumner's "shop at home" contest.

"This free community-wide event has gained tremendous local support during the past three years," Cook said. "REDTT helped start Winterfest in 1996, and we have been amazed at the attention it has received both regionally and statewide." REDTT is a program of New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service that promotes agriculture through tourism. For more information about Fort Sumner's Winterfest, contact Sandy Paul at the DeBaca County Chamber of Commerce at (505) 355- 7705.