Christmas came early to East Coulee this year as the Atlas Coal Mine and East Coulee School Museum joined forces to give people an idea of what Christmas was like in Drumheller when coal was king.
Christmas in the Coulee saw the wooden tipple at the mine decorated with lights to guide visitors and a beautiful Christmas tree set up inside the old wash house.
"We thought what a great idea, let's bring Christmas back to East Coulee; it hasn't been out in this area for a long time," remarked Dr. Sarah Newstead, the executive director of the national historic site. "There hasn't been a lot of events out in this end of the valley for a long time, so we thought let's do a Christmas event this year."
"When people need home heating coal, when it's cold out people buy coal, so this was the time of year that the mine was running," explained Newstead. "Everyone had money and it was really happy and a good time of the year, so we thought let's bring some of that cheer back to the site."
The two day event on Saturday and Sunday, December 9-10, also saw the Atlas pair with the School Museum in a scavenger hunt that saw competitors try to collect snowmen hidden around both sites.
While numbers are still being tallied up, Newstead is confident they'll be running something simiilar again next Christmas.
"We'd really like to thank all of the people who donated Christmas lights," she added. "The donations that we had allowed us to put all the lights in the tipple and hopefully, next year we're going to do the same donation drive so we can put twice as many up; it'll be awesome."
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