2019 Gainesville Christmas event moves to Friday evening
Organizers of the Wonders of Christmas event on the Gainesville square say this year’s celebration will be held on Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon.
The festival and parade are set to kick off at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, with the opening of vendor booths and the Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas contest. Sunset will be around 5 p.m. that evening.
“It’s always a busy time of year. We always struggle to find the perfect date,” Christmas committee member Allisa West told the Times. “We decided to switch it up this year and see how it goes. We thought it’d be fun to get to use Christmas lights on the floats.”
West said the committee does recognize that one challenge in changing the event from mid-afternoon Saturday to Friday night is the likelihood of cooler temperatures.
“The parade will be colder than it would be having it mid-afternoon, but hopefully it’s still enjoyable,” she said.
Booths welcome, no fee
Organizers say there is no fee for craft, food or game vendors to set up booths on the west side of the square, and anyone can have a booth, including individuals selling their wares as well as school, church or community groups offering fundraiser games or hands-on craft activities. Booths can operate from 6 p.m. until the end of the festival, which will probably be around 9 p.m.
The Fried & Frozen food truck will be available with dinner options for purchase.
“We’d really love to have some great new vendors,” West said. “There’s no fee. We just ask for a heads-up so we can have a spot ready for you. There’s plenty of space.”
For more information on booths, call Pearl Schneider at 417-679-0388.
Sign up now for Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas
The Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas contest is open to 4- and 5-year-old girls and boys. Contest organizer Kerrie Zubrod told the Times that all children of those ages are welcome; the competition is not limited to Gainesville residents. All participants will receive a gift, and Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas will be awarded a tiara and crown in addition to their gift.
During the contest, participants will line up on stage and will be asked four or five “gentle questions” that are appropriate for 4- and 5-year-olds.
“I usually ask things like, What is your favorite thing to eat at Christmastime? or What is your favorite color?” Zubrod said. “I might ask them about pets or siblings.”
At the end of each set of questions, Zubrod asks each participant if they have anything special to share.
“Sometimes it’s a song or a joke,” she said. “Some-times they don’t want to share anything else, and that’s just fine too.”
Participants often dress up in Christmas attire, but their clothing will not be factored into the judging process.
Zubrod encourages parents to sign up early so gifts can be purchased in advance for all participants. The deadline for signing up is Monday, Dec. 2.
For more information or to register a child for the contest, call Zubrod at Century Bank of the Ozarks, 417-679-3321.
Join the Jingle Bell parade
The Jingle Bell Parade steps off at 7 p.m. Those participating should line up behind Town & Country Supermarket in Gainesville at 6:30 p.m. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning entries: $150 for grand prize, $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place.
Last year’s parade featured several festive floats, and Jingle Bell parade organizer Paula Rose says this year’s event is shaping up nicely. Rose focused on getting more churches involved last year, and this year she is putting a little extra emphasis on area businesses, visiting them personally to invite them to participate in the parade anyway they would like.
“You can participate in the parade with decorated four-wheelers, side-by-sides, trucks, old cars, floats… whatever you want. It can have an advertisement for your business on it,” Rose told the Times.
“We had really good representation from the churches last year, and I hope they’ll be involved again this year. I’d love to see more businesses get involved this year. School groups from all around the county and community organizations are also welcomed with open arms. The more the merrier,” she said.
For more information on the parade or to sign up to participate with a float or other parade entry, call Rose at 417-989-1282.
Fun after the parade
After the parade, the lighting of the Christmas tree will be done in the gazebo along with music and singing on stage and photos with Santa. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own camera to take photos with Santa.
Cash donations to help support the festival are needed and can be made through the Ozark County Christmas Committee account at Century Bank of the Ozarks.