Waukesha parade victims: Country Christmas tickets to raise money

As families celebrated Thanksgiving across Wisconsin, festive light shows prepared to ring in the season while supporting those impacted by Sunday's parade attack in Waukesha.

In Pewaukee, Country Christmas is pitching in to help. The Ingleside Hotel, which hosts the light show, had a float in the parade. Hours after the attack unfolded, organizers said they knew they had to do something to help their neighbors and families involved.

Inside the Christmas Village, Kurt Wamser and his team have just one goal each year at Country Christmas: "It's about creating those memories, the positive, good memories, and just making a good foundation for the families again."

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It is a mission that has become even more important in the past week.

"We're a family, and we're part of the Waukesha community. And our hearts go out to the victims," said Wamser.

Model trains at Country Christmas

Jesse Wilder said it took just hours for the Ingleside Hotel to find a way to help its Waukesha family. All weekend long, $5 from every full-price admission ticket punched at Country Christmas will go to the Waukesha Community Foundation fund – helping victims and their families recover as best as they can.

"We had a float in the parade, and some of us were there, and all the families and all the kids that were affected," Wilder said. "We all should just do our part."

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This year's Country Christmas setup includes a 42-foot Christmas tree, rebuilt displays and many staples of years' past. Organizers aim to remember what happened at the parade, but like their beloved model trains, hope a little Christmas spirit can get the community back on track.

"We're looking forward to being able to have the community come out and find some peace and have a chance to experience something enjoyable again," said Wamser.

The Country Christmas gates open Sunday night, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available online.

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