Wonders of Christmas festival is Friday on the Gainesville square
Jingle Bell parade may include 40-plus entries this year!
Parade organizer Paula Rose said she didn’t know how the 2020 Jingle Bell parade at the Wonders of Christmas festival would pan out this year amid covid-19 concerns, but she has been pleasantly surprised with the number of entries scheduled to participate. This year’s parade is on par with the 2019 parade, she said, which included a record-setting number of entries.
Rose and other festival organizers urge participants in the celebration to be smart and maintain social distance, wash and sanitize hands, and be generally covid-aware.
This year’s parade steps off at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, to circle the Gainesville square, and it’s shaping up to be another brilliantly colorful show, Rose said. She has been actively recruiting businesses, churches and community groups to join in on the fun, and at press time Tuesday, 11 businesses or groups were scheduled to have a float in the parade. Another 20 or so entries will drive a decorated vehicle or other entry in the line-up, she said.
Gainesville, Dora and Hartville school bands plan to be here, providing festive music and marching to set the tone for the other entries.
Town & Country Supermarket manager Roger Frost has been named the 2020 Wonders of Christmas parade marshal.
Other special guests who plan to participate in the parade are the Ozark County Honor Guard, the 2020 Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas, the Lions Club’s citizen of the year Paul Wade, 33rd District Senator-elect Karla Eslinger, Gainesville Saddle Club members with their horses, Ozark County Ambulance, Ozark County Sheriff’s Department, several volunteer fire departments, the 2019 Hootin an Hollarin queen and her court – and Santa Claus, of course.
Gainesville’s Shelter Insurance-Douglas Hawkins Agency is sponsoring the $150 “D.W. Hawkins Salute to the Spirit of Christmas” grand prize award for the winning float. First place will be awarded $100, second place will win $75 and the third place winner will take home $50. This year’s festival also includes a new category, best lighted vehicle, which wins $50.
Those wishing to participate are asked to confirm their entry with Rose by calling her at 417-989-1282. Parade entries should line up behind Town & Country by 6 p.m.
After the parade concludes, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony will be held in the gazebo, along with Santa visits with children. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera or phone to take their own photos with Santa.
Booths open at 5 p.m. on the Gainesville square, coinciding with music and singing in the gazebo. The Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas contest begins at 6 p.m. (Sign-up for the contest closed Tuesday.)
Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas contest will begin at 6 p.m.
The annual Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas contest, open to 4- and 5-year-old girls and boys, will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the gazebo on the square during Gainesville’s Wonders of Christmas festival and parade.
All participants will receive a gift. 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.
See next week’s edition of the Times for photos from the contest, along with information and photos from the Jingle Bell parade and Wonders of Christmas on the Square festival.
Festival to include tasty treats, warm drinks and gifts galore
This year’s Wonders of Christmas festival and parade is set to begin at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, with plenty of good things to eat, do and shop for.
Excited festival organizers Paula Rose, Allisa West and Kerrie Zubrod say that, in addition to a big line-up of parade floats and entries, this year’s vendor-booth count continues to grow.
The vendor list features several tasty dinner options and sweet treats, as well as booths and stores that will be ready to provide attendees with lots of Christmas gift ideas. Those wishing to have a booth at the Wonders of Christmas festival are asked to contact Allisa West at 417-543-0407.
Booths can include crafts, food, fundraiser games or other options, organizers say.
Items can be handmade and/or local, but they are not required to be. There is no fee to have a booth.
The Ozark County Historium will serve a fundraiser soup supper for $6 per adult and $4 per child. The meal includes soup or chili, crackers, homemade cookies and a drink. Historium volunteers say they will follow guidelines to serve in a safe environment according to recommended covid protocols.
The Fried & Frozen food truck will be on site with its infamous tacos, nachos, donuts, ice cream and other frozen treats.
Sherry Curtright from West Plains will be manning another food truck with burgers, hot dogs and chili dogs.
Marcia Lion will be on the square with her homemade jams, jellies and cookies.
United Country Missouri Ozarks Realty, on the north side of the Gainesville square, will host an open house during the Wonders of Christmas festival with complimentary coffee, water and Christmas cookies.
Michelle Strain will serve her homemade cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies, other baked goods and coffee.
Hillbilly Kettle Corn will have kettle corn, a sweet and salty variety of popcorn, and pork rinds available for purchase. The booth, run by owner Jim Ed Burks, was here for the 2019 Hootin an Hollarin festival.
Stephanie Taylor will be on the square with cider, hot chocolate and Christmas gifts.
The Gainesville senior class will sell caramel apples and pork rinds.
Sweet Little Things Bakery, on the east side of the square, will be open during the festival selling Deb Garcia’s popular homemade baked goods and other delicious treats.
The Gainesville senior class will host a spin-the-wheel and ring toss game booth.
Gifts and other items
Created for More Co., owned by Abby Britt, will have a booth selling Abby’s home decor, Christmas ornaments and decorations plus other digital artwork items.
Mapleleaf Stitches, owned by Megan Lynne, will offer crocheted hats, scarves and other handmade items.
C-N-A Creations, a joint business owned by Crystal Walker and Amanda Watkins, will sell their famous hot chocolate bombs and homemade jams and jellies.
Country Angel Candle Co., owned by Brandy Crouse, will be on the square with homemade wood wick, paraffin-wax-blend candles with custom scents, wax melts and other items.
Luscious Nails with Landers, owned by Susan Landers, will have a booth with nail polish strips.
Lula Mae’s Blankets will be selling handmade knit blankets and other gift items.
Touch of Hope Boutique will have a booth with women’s clothing, accessories, home decor and other gift items.