Bundled in a long white winter coat with stylish boots was Becky Riebe, holding onto a microphone as she sang “O Holy Night” to a crowd of about 50 people.
She was just one part of entertainment during the annual Holiday Raffle by Polson Business Community held on Third Avenue West in Polson Saturday afternoon.
Watching her sing with ease, seeming at home on stage, Riebe said after her performance that she didn’t start singing solo performances until about nine years ago.
“I didn’t have the courage to start singing until I became a Christian,” she said.
Riebe attends worship at Polson Community Church as well as the Seventh Adventist Church in Ronan.
The largest crowd she’s ever performed for was in March for Mission Valley Has Talent!
“It was a great turnout,” the born-and-raised Polson resident said.
Riebe isn’t a stranger to music.
She played the flute growing up and “grew up in a musical family,” even joining choirs.
Marilyn Frame, owner of the Polson Gift Market and an organizer of the Holiday Raffle, asked local church choirs to sing at the event, Riebe said.
“My choir director asked me if I would do some of my songs, and I mixed up a little regular old Christmas songs,” Riebe added.
When asked what her favorite Christmas song to sing is, Riebe said that when she’s learning a new song, they are all her favorite at that point in time.
“I will wake up, singing it in my sleep,” she said, with a laugh.
IN PREVIOUS years, Frame said that the holiday raffle would be a quick event.
This year, she thought it would be something different to have the drawings over the course of several hours.
Participants shopped at participating PBC businesses from the middle of October through Dec. 15.
Receipts were taken to Frame or to The Rack on Main Street. For every $100, Frame said a ticket was placed for the drawing, in which people could win $250, $500 or $1,000 in PBC bucks to be spent at participating stores.
This year’s winners include:
— Linda Luke, $1,000 in PBC bucks and a giftbasket from the KwaTaqNuk
— Erin and Rob Turner, and Marate Frame, for $500
— Marete Frame, Linda Luke, Steven Turner and John Hewkathorn, each won $250
As raffle organizers see what works and what may need further updating, Frame said that next year winners may only be able to win in one category.
Participating businesses previously would donate four-$25 gift certificates as well as a trip outside of the county, Frame said.
This year, she said she wanted to keep people shopping local.
The $3,000 was put up by PBC at no cost to the businesses, as the fundraiser that feeds PBC events, summer’s Cherry Festival, has been doing well, Frame noted. “We wanted it to be a big event rather than a five-minute event.”
Emcee for the afternoon was Brian James from Anderson Broadcasting, while the Polson City Street department tended to a large bonfire where people could roast marshmallows or stay warm as the sun went down.
Polson Community Church choir sang, while Mission Valley Christian Academy served hot chocolate to help raise money for their upcoming mission trip in March.
KwaTaqNuk served chili, and the county’s 4-H program sold candy canes.
For Polson businesses interested in participating in the holiday raffle next year, Frame said they can contact PBC closer to the 2019 holiday season.
More information on PBC can be found by visiting www.polsonbusinesscommunity.com.