Area Christmas events designed to bring joy to all
Gainesville’s official celebration of the Christmas season will be from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday on the west side of the square. Vendors and crafters are invited to set up booths at noon (contact Pearl Schneider at 679-0388 for more information about booths).
The Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas contest, open to 4- and 5-year-old girls and boys, will be held again this year from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the street-side stage. Parents are encouraged to take photos of their children with Santa. For more information, call Kerrie Zubrod at 679-3321.
The Lilly Ridge bell choir will perform and church choirs will present Christmas music in the Historium from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m., followed by the Christmas story reading.
The Jingle Bell Parade steps off at 2:30 p.m., and those wishing to enter a float are asked to call Paula Rose at 417-989-1282. Float lineup will begin at 2 p.m. behind Town & Country Supermarket. There’s no entry fee for floats, and winning floats will be awarded $150 for grand prize, $100 for first place and $50 for second place. Individuals, groups, organizations and churches are encouraged to participate.
These groups have already signed up for the parade: Gainesville First Baptist Church, Mammoth Assembly of God, Lilly Ridge General Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Girl Scouts, White River Valley Electric Co-op, GHS cheerleaders and the Ozark Football Assn.
Three high school bands – from Cabool, Dora and Gainesville – are scheduled to participate, along with the 2017 Hootin an Hollarin queen and her court, Lil Cedar Pete and Lil Miss Addie Lee, Smokey Bear, Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas – and Santa, of course.
Paula says she hopes owners of vintage cars and trucks and tractors, and motorcycles will also join the parade.
As the parade ends and Santa heads back to the North Pole, the Christmas tree lights will be turned on in the gazebo on the courthouse lawn.
Donations are needed to help with banners and prizes for winning floats and bands. To help, drop off a check payable to the Ozark County Christmas Committee Account at Century Bank of the Ozarks or mail to P.O. Box 68, Gainesville, MO 65655.
Rocky Top Drive-Thru Christmas lights
As the sun sets on Gainesville’s “Wonders of Christmas” event, the lights will be turned on at Rocky Top Campground, off Highway 160 at the top of the Tecumseh curves. Owners Joe and Diane Easterday invite area residents to enjoy a drive-through light display set up at their popular campground. The Christmas lights drive-thru will continue nightly from dark until 10 p.m. through New Year’s, weather permitting. Clear Springs Baptist Church is hosting its Christmas soup supper Saturday evening, Dec. 9. Participants are asked to bring a dish or a dessert to share.
Ozark County Toy Drive set for Dec. 16
Next up: the Ozark County Toy Drive, to be held Saturday, Dec. 16, at the old Senior Citizens Center on Third Street in Gainesville. Chairperson Nancy Walker says overnight lining up outside the building is not allowed, at the property owner’s request, but those who show up at dawn are welcome to visit the First Baptist Church, across the street from the old Senior Citizens Center, for coffee and hot chocolate and bathroom access beginning at 6 a.m.
At 7 a.m., numbers will be given out to the parents, and at 9 a.m. the doors will open and parents will be admitted by number, 10 at a time, to choose gifts for their children.
The toy drive welcomes any Ozark County parents and guardians whose budgets can’t provide their children with Christmas gifts. The only requirement is that each participant must show proof of Ozark County residency. A driver’s license will do.
Cash donations are always needed, says Nancy. Make checks payable to the Ozark County Toy Drive and mail to her at 378 Harlin Drive, Gainesville, MO 65655.
Santa Claus will be at the Subway sandwich shop in Caulfield from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 16, to greet youngsters. He’ll be at the Gainesville Subway from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, Dec. 17.
Pictures will be taken, and parents are also invited to take their own photos.
Santa Claus will be at Cash Saver Pantry on Highway 160 in Theodosia from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, to greet youngsters. Parents are invited to take photos.