4 local parades to kick off the holiday season

Santa’s December just got busier with the addition of four local Christmas parades to his calendar.

Mountain Home’s Christmas Festival and parade have been approved by the Arkansas Department of Health.

The Mountain Home-Town Christmas Festival is set for Dec. 4 from 4-8 p.m.

The schedule of events includes the opening of the festival at 4, followed by the First Security Bank Christmas Tree Lighting on Veterans Plaza at 5:45, a fun run at 6, along with the Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade — “The Greatest Gift.”

The festivities also include a Light Up Mountain Home competition.

The Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce is asking all spectators and participants follow the COVID-19 guidelines set forth:

– Please maintain 6-feet physical distance between family units

– Face coverings are required for all persons present, except for children under 10 years of age who are exempt.

– Do not attend if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

– It is recommended those 65 years of age or older with underlying health conditions refrain from attending.

– Hand sanitizing stations will be around downtown.

– All parade entries and vendors must sign a registration form stating they will follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Registration forms for parade entries and vendors may be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce or downloaded at enjoymountainhome.com/members/member-forms/

Photo: A new prize category has been added for entries in this year’s Jingle Bell Parade in Gainesville’s Wonders of Christmas event to be held Dec. 4. The new, $50 prize will be awarded to the “best lighted vehicle.” In last year’s parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus rode in a vintage vehicle adorned with a lighted reindeer (elk) rack. Ozark County Times file photos / Norene Prososki

Also on Dec. 4, Gainesville’s “Wonders of Christmas” event will be held on the square.

Craft, food or game vendors are welcome to set up on the square free of charge. Booths can operate from 5 p.m. until the end of the festival. To sign up or to request more information about booths, contact Allisa West at 417-543-0407.

The event will feature a Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas pageant, open to 4- and 5- year-olds on the stage at 6 p.m. To register your child for the contest, call Kerrie Zubrod at Century Bank no later than Dec. 1 at 417-679-3321.

The Jingle Bell Parade steps off at 7 p.m. Organizer Paula Rose encourages any individuals, businesses, churches or school groups to join in the fun with a decorated float, truck, tractor or any other festively decorated option.

Those participating are asked to line up behind Town & Country by 6 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. This year the parade will feature a new category, best lighted vehicle, that will also win a $50 award. To sign up to participate in the parade, call Rose at 417-989-1282.

After the parade will be the lighting of the Christmas tree in the gazebo and photos with Santa. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own camera to take the photos.

Organizers say the festival is in need of donations for prizes for floats, bands, signs, banners and other items. To donate, make checks payable to the Ozark County Christmas Committee Account and deliver it to any Century Bank of the Ozarks location or mail it to the bank at P.O. Box 68, Gainesville, MO 65655.

The Calico Rock & Pineville Volunteer Fire Departments will be hosting the Annual Lighted Christmas Parade on Dec. 12 at 6:45 p.m.

Those who would like to build a float, enter an ATV, or other entries should line up on Rodman Street at 6 p.m. The theme for the parade is “What Christmas Means to You.”

Parade organizers have received word from the North Pole that Santa Clause will be making an appearance in Calico Rock that evening and ride on the fire truck. However, Santa won’t be able to meet with the children at the fire station this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

The parade will run from the White River bridge along Main Street and up Arkansas Highway 56 ending at the Calico Rock Fire Station at King City Park.

Due to the pandemic, folks are encouraged to enjoy the parade from inside their vehicles along the parade route or in family groups socially distanced along the parade route.

Due to the pandemic, the Living Windows has been canceled this year, and no events are planned on Main Street prior to the parade.

For more information, call 870-297-6100.

Photo: Santa Claus (Mike Topliff) waves from his sleigh, as he and his elves pass by, bringing up the rear of the 2017 Chamber of Commerce-organized West Plains Christmas Parade, “A Year to Give Thanks.” Photo: Courtesy West Plains Daily Quill

On Dec. 12, the Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Christmas parade — with some slight adjustments.

Themed “Stronger Together,” the parade will start at 4 p.m. and make its way down Porter Wagoner Boulevard from Girdley Street near city hall to People’s Park on Broadway. The route has been changed to allow spectators plenty of space to accommodate social distancing between families and groups, said organizers.

All those who wish to participate in the parade must register in advance, say officials, stressing that walk-up entries will not be allowed.

Lineup and safety instructions will be given to entries when they register. Parade entry forms are available at the chamber office, located at 401 Jefferson Avenue.

A panel of judges from neighboring communities will evaluate parade floats on originality, workmanship and relevance to the parade theme. First- and second-place prizes will be awarded in three categories: commercial, religious and miscellaneous, plus there will be an overall grand prize.

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