Chamber, businesses, county and other organizations work together to create a Christmas wonderland display on the Gainesville square

The wreaths and the rest of the courthouse display is dramatic at night.

Oh Christmas Tree! Southern Roots salon owner Khristie Ashmead donated this 12-foot Christmas tree last year and continues to decorate it each year. The tree is lit now, and an official tree lighting ceremony will be held after the 7 p.m. Jingle Bell parade at the Wonders of Christmas festival on the Gainesville square Friday, Dec. 10.

Hanging the Christmas greens Gainesville Volunteer Fire Department chief Ed Dorian, left, and GVFD firefighters Lisa Hoffman and Kevin Piland hung Christmas wreaths over the courthouse doors Sunday afternoon with some help from Ozark County Presiding Commissioner John Turner. Dorian used the exercise as an opportunity to do some training with Piland and Hoffman on using the firetruck’s ladder. While they were up there, Dorian also cleaned out the courthouse gutters.

Showstopping windows Several Gainesville businesses have Christmas displays in their storefront windows. This colorful arrangement is at Bouquet Palace on the west side of the square. Other businesses on the square are encouraged to place Christmas lights or other decorations in their windows before the town’s Dec. 10 Wonders of Christmas Festival.

These planters were purchased by the Chamber using grant funds from the White River Valley Electric Cooperative. Linda Harlin arranged the festive greenery and flowers in them.

The manger scene is back in its usual spot on the southeast corner of the square where it has been displayed in previous years.

The Gainesville square is trimmed in its best Christmas season displays, thanks to the coordinated effort of many hands and hearts. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen it looking better than it is this year,” said Ozark County Chamber of Commerce vice president Douglas Hawkins.

Among the elements of the festive display this year are lighted shrubbery and other outdoor decor at Century Bank of the Ozarks,  the Ozark County Chamber of Commerce decorations around the courthouse square, lighted displays in the courthouse windows and large wreaths that adorn the east and west sides of the courthouse, a manger scene, the “D.W. Hawkins Salute to the Spirit of Christmas” gazebo display and a 12-foot-tall Christmas tree in the gazebo that is decorated annually by Southern Roots salon owner Khristie Ashmead. 

Several other businesses on the square have lights or Christmas displays up.

Hawkins said Chamber member Linda Harlin spends a lot of time and effort each year on the Chamber’s Christmas decorations. 

He also gave special recognition to Gainesville FBLA members who helped install and set up this year’s display. 

Many of the decorations were purchased last year when the Chamber organized a fundraising campaign to buy new Christmas decorations after many of the long-time decorations were destroyed during a windstorm in 2019. 

The Chamber added new Christmas banners to four lamp posts around the square with funds from a grant from the White River Valley Electric Cooperative. The city of Gainesville has purchased a variety of lighted Christmas-themed designs that will be hung from the remaining lamp posts. 

The WRVEC grant also funded new benches and planters located around the square, and Harlin has filled the planters with festive floral arrangements featuring Christmas greenery and red poinsettias (see related story in the Nov. 24 edition of the Times). 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
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