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Christmas is coming
Holiday parades and events making spirits bright
new vlc Christmas-photo-bySLT

Saturday, Great Bend officially welcomes the Christmas season. The City of Great Bend’s Community Coordinator, Christina Hayes, in conjunction with several businesses and organizations, have planned several activities to bring together the community in celebration.
Already, Great Bend’s Trail of Lights holiday display can be viewed around the city. Starting at Brit Spaugh Park, the animated lights can be found in various locations including Veterans Memorial Park, K-96 and 10th Street, the Barton County Historical Museum Village, and Jack Kilby Square.
After the Thanksgiving feast has been put away, several businesses around Great Bend will offer Black Friday doorbuster deals and special sales. It will also be the final day to register for the $1,000 Explore Great Bend giveaway at Great Bend businesses. A list of participating venues can be picked up at the City of Great Bend offices. The Optimist Club will also start its annual Christmas Tree Sales at the Waters True Value parking lot, which will continue until Christmas Eve.  
Start exploring Great Bend early by taking part in the Holiday Cookie Contest.
From 4:40 to 7:30 p.m., Foundry Methodist Church will provide Living Nativity portraits free at Jack Kilby Square.
Sunflower Diversified has organized the Home for the Holidays parade which starts at 5:30 p.m. at Brit Spaugh Park and will travel down Main Street to 12th.   This year’s theme, “A Soldier’s Christmas Wish” will feature floats from local churches and organizations as well as individuals. Line-up begins at Brit Spaugh Park at 5 p.m., and will culminate with a visit from Santa Claus. He and Great Bend’s Mayor Mike Allison will light the Christmas tree in the courthouse square.
At that time, the winners of the $1,000 Explore Great Bend giveaway and the winner of the cookie contest will be announced at the band shell.  
From 6:30-8 p.m., families can take free horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides around the square, courtesy of Rosewood Services. The city train will also be available for rides, and free ice skating, hot dogs and hot chocolate will be available.  
Children can meet with Santa Claus, as well as visit the Santas Around the World exhibit at 1223 Main Street. It opens at 1 p.m., and features 22 life-sized international Santas created by Loretta Miller, a local artist. Santa will be there that evening until 9:30 p.m., as well as Nov. 29 from 1-6 p.m. and through Dec. 20, Thursdays and Fridays from 4-6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1-6 p.m.
A full schedule of activities planned for the month of December can also be found in the Holiday Events Calendar available at the city offices.

Looking ahead
Coming up, Santa’s Workshop will be held the evening of Monday, Nov. 30, at the City Auditorium. This is a free family event where kids of all ages can enjoy an evening of holiday cheer, crafts, food and music, as well as a visit with Santa Claus. Various GBHS student organizations will be on hand volunteering to make the night one to remember.   
The Light to Unite Holiday Hustle, originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 27, has been postponed until Friday, Dec. 4.  Registrations are still being taken. One child under age 14 years old may enter for free with one paid adult registration. Additional children can register for $5 and children must be accompanied by an adult. Registrants will receive a beanie or ear warmer.
Events will not be timed, so bikers will leave first, followed by runners and then walkers. Participants are encouraged to wear their ugliest holiday sweaters, with prizes awarded for the three worst. And, those riding bicycles, pushing strollers or pulling wagons can take part in the “Most lit-up wheels” contest. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the fun run.  

The Hoisington Chamber of Commerce invites the community to come start the Christmas season off right Friday night, Nov. 27, as Main Street lights up with the appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The jolly old elf’s wife will read stories to children at the chamber office starting at 5 p.m., and Santa is scheduled to arrive a little after 5:30 p.m. to light the lights. Free cookies and cocoa will be waiting for him and guests at the chamber office. Then, he’ll open his special house at Leibert Park to visit and hand out gifts to the kids and pose for photos.
Free hay rack rides will be given along Main Street, providing a charming way to see all the lights and listen to Christmas carols ringing throughout the town.  Visitors are invited to register for Chamber gift certificate giveaways and bring an outdoor ornament for the chamber’s tree. Santa will return for brief visits on Saturday, Dec. 12  from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16th from 6-7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.