The annual Cody Cowboy Christmas – a combination of downtown events capped off with a lighted parade and the arrival of Santa Claus – is a a community capstone to the holiday season.

To accommodate the various activities, each year the Cody Chamber and its affiliate Cody Events Committee ask the city council for permission to close streets to traffic along Sheridan.

Typically, city leaders approve the street closures without issue. But on Nov. 5 when organizers asked the council to approve closing five blocks along Sheridan from 4-8 p.m. on Nov. 30, the request was met with resistance.

Several councilors told event organizers they do not support asking city employees to work the Saturday after Thanksgiving because it interrupts a four-day break for workers who must be on duty to assist with traffic control, street blockades, garbage collection and other related tasks.

Prior to the 6-1 council vote, councilwoman Heidi Rasmussen said she would vote no because she did not like requiring city employees to work on the city’s only four-day closure (two work days and two weekend days).

“People are stuck working on a holiday and not only on a holiday but in the middle of a holiday,” she said, adding further objection to the expense the city incurrs for providing a service that requires overtime pay.

The city uses its portion of lodging tax funds to cover event costs estimated at $2,200 this year.

“I’m not sure it’s a good use of our ‘less-than-steller’ budget dollars,” Rasmussen said.

Landon Greer, council president, said he is also concerned about staff losing out on a four-day break.

City public works and streets employees work on a lot of holidays throughout the year, in addition to the Christmas event, he said.

Greer said he would approve the request this time.

“But if it comes up next year, I would be a hard ‘no’ vote,” he said.

Tina Hoebelheinrich, chamber executive director, said whether the events committee will move away from Thanksgiving weekend in 2020 is not something they’ve yet considered.

“We’re focused on having an amazing event this year,” she said. “The amount of participation on Sheridan Avenue is better than ever.”

The Cody Events Committee is made up of a group of volunteers who organize the annual shopping season kick-off in addition to other community events.

“It’s not just a chamber of commerce decision and we think it’s a complicated issue,” Hoebelheinrich said. “We’re focusing on the best outcome for the businesses we support and for the community.”

She noted the chosen date of Nov. 30 this year coincides with Black Friday and Shop Small Business Saturday.

“It’s not really because it’s Thanksgiving weekend,” Hoebelheinrich said. “It’s because of Shop Small Business Saturday, which has so much national advertising to get people to shop local that day. It highlights local businesses and they really are the lifeblood of every community.”

(4) comments

hollihock

They tried unsuccessfully to have this event the first weekend in December in the past, however the museum holds their event that weekend and its too much for people to attend both.

S Tidwell

Shouldn't be a tough solution to this so called problem.... Dewey has a great suggestion with the parade being on the first weekend in December, and I bet if we advertise locally, the Small Shop Saturday will work on that same Saturday. Might even work better, as I would guess there are some people who actually leave Cody on the Saturday after Thanksgiving looking for great deals in Billings.

DeweyV

Could we please just have Cody Cowboy Christmas in the same calendar month as Christmas ? Is that too much to ask ??

todayistheday

I second DeweyV, 1st weekend of December !

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.