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Christmas coming to town
Host of holiday festivities kick-off season Saturday
The Barton County Courthouse Square is empty now and the colorful lights are off. But, on Saturday, downtown Great Bend will come to life with festivities kicking off the holiday season

Trail of Lights volunteers needed

Great Bend’s holiday tradition the Trail of Lights opens this weekend, but Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said she is still in need of volunteers to greet visitors to the lighted display.

The greeters are asked to work two-hour shifts, manning the booth at the trail entrance on the south side of Brit Spaugh Park. They track the number of car occupants, car tag info to see where visitors are coming from, and take donations that help maintain the light displays.

Last year, these contributions totaled $4,000. “Every little bit helps,” she said.

“They are just a friendly face,” Hayes said of the greeters. They also hand out visitor bags and/or candy canes. 

New this year, there will be 1,500 bags distributed to those going through the trail. Only a handful will have a special golden ticket that entitle the recipient to special prizes.

To volunteer, contact Hayes at 620-793-4111. 

Come Saturday, it will begin to look a lot like Christmas in Great Bend.

“This weekend, we have a big weekend upon us,” Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said. There will be the annual lighted Home for the Holidays parade, Santa Claus and a host of other seasonal activities.

“This is our big kick off to the Christmas City,” she said. “We are real proud of that.”

The theme for this year’s parade is “Christmas Past and Present” and the grand marshal is Great Bend resident Barry Bowers.

Below is the schedule for Saturday:

Shop and register to win $1,000 at participating stores all day last day

10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Downtown Cookie Contest. There will be a chance to sample about 20 different types of cookies.

10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Dilly and Doc vendor market - 1119 Main Street 

10 a.m – 6 p.m.: Christmas Craft Mall – 3301 Lakin (inside Central Baptist Church – use west door entrance)

Noon–3 p.m.: Photos With Santa and Chelsea Mitchell Photography – 1401 Main Street – only a few spots left

1 p.m.–3 p.m.: Santa’s Around The World Open- 1223 Main. This free showing is sponsored by Rosewood Services Roots and Wings Foundation, and all donations will go to the maintance of the Santa display.

4-8 p.m.: Foundry Methodist Church living nativity portraits in Jack Kilby Square

4 p.m.-9 p.m.: Model train display (keep ears peeled for the random toot of train whistle) – 1315 Main Street 

5:30 p.m.: Lighted Parade on Main Street 

6 p.m.: Santa comes to town – 1223 Main

6:30 p.m.: Mayors Tree lighting 

6:30 p.m.: Santa’s Around The World and a time to tell Santa your wish list – 1223 Main 

6:30 p.m.: Free ice skating (there will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday hours through Dec. 31)

6:30 P.M.: Free wagon and carriage rides around the square

6:30 P.M.: Free hot dogs and funnel cakes 

Trail Of Lights opens. The Great Bend High School class of 1985 will be the greeters that night.

Also, new this year, there will be 1,500 bags distributed to those going through the trail. Only a handful will have a special golden ticket that entitle the recipient to special prizes.

“The parade is organized by us now, too,” she said. This marks the second year the city has planned it after it had been coordinated by Sunflower Diversified Services. 

“Our goal is to always have about 25 entries, this is kind of hard since it is a holiday weekend,” she said. “But this year we already gone past 33,”

This includes one entry with 14 to 20 different cars. The vehicles will represent different eras and tie into the parade theme.