The Christmas spirit is rapidly descending on the Country Music Capital of Canada.

Starting Monday, the annual Country Christmas festivities begin and continue strong for the week.

The highly-anticipated Country Christmas parade takes place on Friday, Nov. 28, and applications to enter floats are available at the Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce, Carrie Ware and Company, and online at merrittchamber.com.

Parade applications must be turned in by Nov. 21 (a week before the parade) at Carrie Ware and Company to secure a spot in the lit-up lineup.

The Rotary Club of Merritt and Q101 radio auction will officially kick off the week of festivities from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Listeners can call in to Q101 and place their bids on over 100 items donated by community members and businesses.

Of course, being the endeavour of a service club, the proceeds will benefit two worthy community causes: the local food bank and cold weather shelter.

Santa Claus will be all over town throughout the week, including the Santa’s Village at the Hall of Fame on Quilchena Avenue. Families are welcome to book pictures with Santa at the village setup.

On Nov. 26, dancers from Merritt’s Love to Dance Academy will perform for the masses at the Merritt Civic Centre starting at 7 p.m.

The following night, the Civic Centre will be filled with the voices of community members young and old who will perform at the annual Country Christmas Concert, which also begins at 7 p.m.

Admission to both the dance recital and the concert is free.

On Nov. 28 and 29, the Country Christmas Craft Fair will take over the Civic Centre on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.

Wreaths decorated by community members will be on display as well as part of the returning Wreath Walk. One better, the wreaths are available for purchase in a silent auction that benefits each wreath’s local creator. Registration forms for the Wreath Walk and more information can be found at the Baillie House.

The Festival of Trees will bring the festive spirit over to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame on Quilchena Avenue. Businesses and organizations can register to decorate a tree that will light up the Hall of Fame on Friday and Saturday.

Register for free with the Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce. Trees are supplied and the winner will be announced in the afternoon on Nov. 29.

Both the Civic Centre and Hall of Fame are open until 10 p.m. on Nov. 28 after the parade and until 4 p.m. the following day.

Breakfast with Santa will wind up the week on Sunday, Nov. 29 at the Civic Centre from 9 to 11 a.m.