Elida residents aim to revive town square with Christmas spirit

Alisa Boswell

The sights and sounds of Christmas will make their way to the Elida town square Friday night.

The village is holding its inaugural Christmas on the Square event, starting at 6 p.m. Shops surrounding the square will be open for business. Each shop will display Christmas lights and hand out free refreshments.

The idea to start the event came from Michelle Ward, who lives just outside of Elida and opened her business on the square in September. “It’s been great,” said Ward. “The people of Elida have been really supportive.”

Ward said The Little Things, which offers custom items including glassware, jewelry and clothing, has been supported by the community and has drawn customers from Roswell and Ruidoso.

She was considering a holiday open house for the business, but asked around the square and found out more could happen.

“We just wanted to do something special to bring some life back to Elida,” said Ward. “I’m just glad to be doing it and that everyone else is excited.”

Ward said Santa Claus, carolers and hay rides will also be included in the Friday night event.

Debrah Smith, a resident of Elida for 12 years, owns the Branding Iron Cafe, also on the square. Smith said she and Ward have been working for two months painting and fixing up buildings on the square.

Smith’s cafe is usually only open Thursdays and Fridays for breakfast and lunch, but she said it will be open to the public Friday night for the event.

“I’m just so excited,” said Smith. “I think the old needs to be brought to life. I love old things and I like to see them come alive.”

Smith and her husband retired and moved to Elida for quiet country living and fixed a 102-year-old house to live in. Smith said with all of the history in Elida, it would be nice to see the town of 200 come alive for the event.

Smith said the square has “been dead” for years and it is time now to bring it back to life and show surrounding communities the wonders of its history.

“When people tell Michelle and I that Elida used to be booming 50 years ago, we can hardly believe it,” said Smith with a laugh. “It’s like an old-fashioned Mayberry.”

Glen “Shot” Snider, a resident of local areas for 50 years, owns Elida Memories Museum, a historical museum that captures the history of Elida through pictures of cowboys and buildings that used to exist in the town and with model displays of a train and cowboys and Indians.

Snider said the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until dark, but it will remain open Friday night.

Snider said after raising his children in Elida, he moved to Clovis for several years. When he moved back to Elida in 2007, he began fixing the museum’s building, which was built in 1909, and opened up the museum in 2008.

“Michelle and Debbie keep telling me that I started it all by fixing up that old building for the museum,” said Snider, referring to the town’s recent renovating activities. “I didn’t think I had, but I guess without knowing it, I did.”