Merry and bright Christmas events celebrate the season
Seasonal activities abound this time of year. To have your Christmas or holiday-themed event added to the list, call the Ozark County Times at 417-679-4641 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, Dec. 13
GHCC Silver Tea
The Gainesville Health Care Center will host its annual Ladies Silver Tea at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the facility off Highway 5 south/160 west of the Gainesville business area. All area women are invited to join the GHCC staff and residents for homemade holiday treats, coffee and tea, all served from traditional silver tea sets. Stories, holiday traditions, singing and door prizes are planned for the event.
Rockbridge storytime with Santa
Storytime with Santa will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch in Rockbridge. Children will be able to visit with Santa, enjoy a Christmas story, decorate Christmas cookies and enjoy cookies with hot cocoa or milk. Reservations are required, and space is limited. For more information or to reserve a spot, call 417-679-3619.
Family Christmas party at the Antler
Antler Pizza and Restaurant will host an Ozark County Christmas Party for area families at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. Guests can enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies while listening to Christmas music on the restaurant’s DJ/karaoke system. Children will have a chance to win toys and prizes.
Bakersfield School Christmas concert
Bakersfield School will present a Christmas concert from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, in the high school gymnasium. Students in all grade levels will participate in the free concert, and they need to be at the school at 5:45 p.m. The concert is expected to last about an hour.
Saturday, Dec. 14
Ozark County Toy Drive
The Ozark County Toy Drive will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, in the old senior center on Third Street in Gainesville. The gift-give-away, which operates completely with community donations and volunteers, is open to all parents who can show “some kind of something” that proves they live in Ozark County, chairperson Nancy Walker said.
The toy drive distributes children’s gifts, treats and clothing items to parents for their children. Admission into the toy drive is by number, with doors opening at 9 a.m. The numbers will be handed out by a volunteer beginning around 7 a.m. Saturday. At that time, First Baptist Church, located across the street, will be open to offer parents coffee, hot chocolate and restrooms.
Walker says parents are not allowed to wait in line overnight but may begin lining up as early as 6 a.m.
Most years, gifts are distributed for more than 400 children during the toy drive. A small army of volunteers works hard to make that generosity possible. It’s a huge operation, one that depends completely on volunteer efforts and cash donations.
To help, make checks payable to Ozark County Toy Drive and mail to Nancy Walker, 378 Harlin Drive, Gainesville, MO 65655.
Breakfast with Santa at Rockbridge
Breakfast with Santa will be held at Rockbridge Rainbow Trout Ranch in Rockbridge from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. The breakfast will feature reindeer pancakes along with a visit from Santa and holiday crafts. Reservations are required. For more information or to reserve a spot, call 417-679-3619.
Christmas Cantata at Clear Springs Church
The Ozark County Community Choir will perform its annual Christmas cantata – this year, “Prince of Heaven” by Travis Cottrell – at the Clear Springs Baptist Church, located at PP Highway and County Road 318 near Dawt, at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Refreshments will be served after the program.
Rocky Top Christmas open house
Rocky Top Campground and Cabins, on Highway 160 near the top of the Tecumseh curves, will host an open house from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in the resort’s community room. The event will feature hot chocolate, coffee and hot apple cider, along with “lots of cookies and candy,” say owners Joe and Diane Easterday. Santa Claus will visit with guests and pose for photos. The event is free and open to everyone; cash donations will be accepted for the Ozark County Food Pantry.
Sunday, Dec. 15
Thornfield House of Prayer Christmas service
The Thornfield House of Prayer will host a Christmas service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. The event will feature a youth Christmas play, praise and worship service and a message by Brian Adams. Attendees will enjoy a Christmas dinner and gift exchange after the service. Everyone is invited. For more information, call the Thornfield House of Prayer at 417-989-0026 or 417-989-1644.
Santa visits Lutie School cafeteria
Area residents are invited to share brunch with Santa from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, in the Lutie School cafeteria on Highway 160 in Theodosia. The event, a fundraiser for the Lutie cheerleaders, features a menu of pancakes, sausage, juice or coffee for $5 per adult or $2 per child age 13 and younger. Children 2 and younger eat free. Families are encouraged to bring cameras or cell phones for photos.
Gainesville band and choir holiday concert
The Gainesville Junior High/High School holiday band and choir concert will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, in the GHS gymnasium.
Christmas Cantata at First Baptist Church, Gainesville
The Ozark County Community Choir will perform its annual Christmas cantata – this year “Prince of Heaven” by Travis Cottrell – at Gainesville First Baptist Church on Second Street at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Refreshments will be served after the program.
Tuesday, Dec. 17
Dora School winter concert, Christmas pageant
Dora School will present a winter concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, in the gymnasium. Students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade will participate. The Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas pageant will follow.
Lutie drama and choir Christmas performance
The Lutie Drama Club and choir will present a Christmas performance at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17. Elementary and high school students will perform.
Saturday, Dec. 21
Santa and M&M elves visit Cash Saver Pantry
Santa Claus and the M&M elves will visit with children at Cash Saver Pantry on Highway 160 in Theodosia from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Parents are encouraged to bring their cell phones or cameras to take photos.
Santa visits Gainesville Subway
Santa Claus will visit with children at the Gainesville Subway location, at Highways 5 north and 160, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Pictures will be taken by staff, and parents are also welcome to take their own photos with cell phones or cameras.
Breakfast with Santa
A Breakfast with Santa will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 in the Dora School cafeteria.
Sunday, Dec. 22
Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Shananagans
Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit and pose for photos with children at Shananagans Arcade and Loan, 282 Main St. in Gainesville, from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22.
Santa visits Caulfield Subway
Santa Claus will visit with children at the Caulfield Subway on Highway 160 beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. Pictures will be taken by staff, and parents are also welcome to take their own photos with cell phones or cameras.
Mt. Lebanon Church Christmas program
The Mount Lebanon Church, located below Piland Youth Camp in Thornfield, will hold its annual Christmas program at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. The program, titled “Jesus, Our Timeless Eternal Salvation,” will begin at 6 p.m. For directions or more information, call Samantha Mayberry at 417-261-2027.
Wednesday, Dec. 25
VFW community Christmas Dinner
VFW Post #5366 in Isabella, with the help of the local AmVets chapter, will serve its annual free community Christmas dinner at noon Dec. 25 at the VFW hall on HH Highway in Isabella. Facility manager Ruby Winslow said everyone is invited – veterans and non-veterans alike. If advance arrangements are made, meals can also be delivered to nearby residents who are unable to attend, or meals can be prepared for pickup.
Donations of cash and food are needed and welcome. Winslow said the VFW greatly appreciates those who are able to cook an extra dish - salads, sides and desserts - and deliver it to the facility on Dec. 24. The VFW also welcomes donations of a turkey or ham three days ahead of time to be cooked by the VFW staff and volunteers.
Call 273-5008 for more information, to let the staff know what food you can donate, or to arrange home delivery or pickup. To send a tax-deductible cash donation, make checks payable to Isabella VFW Post 5366 and mail to P.O. Box 323, Isabella, MO 65676.
Ongoing light displays
Rocky Top light display
Rocky Top Campground and Cabins in Tecumseh invites area residents to enjoy its elaborate Christmas light drive-through display that includes 40 large, lighted inflatables and thousands of lights crisscrossing the display area and wrapped around trees. This year Rocky Top has added a new attraction, a “tree of lights.” The drive-through display, which is free and open to everyone, continues through Jan. 1.
Erisman’s Holiday Acres
Erisman’s Holiday Acres, located on County Road 1082 in Midway, Arkansas, is a 5-acre light display that has been growing and expanding over its 20-year history. It can be viewed from a vehicle through a looped roadway, and it’s free of charge, but donations are gratefully accepted to help with costs to expand the display and pay for electricity. The light display is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Search for Erisman’s Holiday Acres on Facebook for more information or to view updates throughout the season.