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City prepping for Santa’s arrival amid COVID
Council grants permissions for annual Christmas event
home for the holidays
Plans are in the works for the 2020 Home for Holidays Festival and Parade and other community Christmas events.

The annual Home for the Holidays Festival and Parade is just around the corner, Community Coordinator Christina Hays told the City Council Monday night. She was requesting the usual permissions and closures for the Saturday, Nov. 28, event be approved.

But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are additional considerations this year. “There have been concerns regarding the long lines and gathering of people for the parade, and the festival afterwards,” she said. 

There was talk about the event and if it should even take place. “I think we have a decision that we need to make tonight.”

However, the council was unanimous in its support, voting to proceed with the seasonal tradition. The parade itself wasn’t the issue, but the food venders that draw throngs to the Courthouse Square after it is over.

It was discussed to possibly spread the booths out some, and other options to make things safer will be considered as well.

“I think we can keep telling people to social distance, but honestly I think events now are going to be at your own risk,” Hayes said. “I don’t want the holiday parade to be a (COVID) cluster.”  But she thinks the community wants a great festival.

“It is Great Bend’s way of inviting Santa to town and kicking off our Christmas season,” she said. “Partners in making the festival happen have stated they are willing to serve the free items again this year ,and we have added a window decorating contest with great prizes for the businesses.” 

The theme this year will be “Sweets and Treats,” and the grand marshal will be Cheryl Cheely.

Approved by the council were:

• Closure of Main Street from 24th to 12th during the parade from the hours of 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. “We will be using the extended route (turning west on 12th Street instead of Lakin, making it one block longer) as approved by the Kansas Department of Transportation.”

• Keeping Main Street closed from Broadway Avenue to 12th Street for an additional two hours after the parade to allow the horse-drawn carriage, train rides and free food vendors to have access to the street area.

• Closure of Lakin Avenue between Kansas Avenue to Main Street from 4-9 p.m., and allowing parking on the north side of Lakin Avenue from noon to 9 p.m. 

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Approved  hosting the Home for Holidays Festival and Parade, and the necessary street closures and other permissions for the annual event.

• Approved storm box and street repairs at Meadowlark and Lincoln.

The city bid out the work at the northwest part of the intersection. They received three bids with the low bid from Concrete Services of Great Bend for $29,634, Assistant Public Works Director Jason Cauley said. The council OKed this bid.

• Talked boarded windows as a public eyesore. This was requested byCouncilman Dana Dawson at the Oct. 5 meeting. City Administrator Kendal Francis reported on the matter.

The matter was tabled indefinitely pending further discussion.

• Approved closing Great Bend Brit Spaugh Park and 19th Street from the south exit of the zoo to Morton Street from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday for the 2020 Kiwanis Halloween Drive Thru Boo event. Due to COVID-19, there are changes in the plans for the Kiwanis Parade this year.

• Tabled action on rezoning the Quail Cove Development as requested by Housing Opportunities Inc. 

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on Sept. 28 and recommended approval by the council. However, several citizens voiced their concerns about the rezoning, leading HOI to request delaying the decision.

• Heard and update from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on on-going city projects.

• Heard a report from Christina Hayes, community coordinator and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau director. She focused on the Home for the Holidays festival Nov. 28.

• Approved abatements at: 1807 Monroe, accumulation of trash/refuse, Robert Hertel; 2121 Monroe, accumulation of trash/refuse, Rick Miller; 3108 23rd, accumulation of trash/refuse, Bradly Fischer; 215 Hubbard, accumulation of trash/refuse, Jesus and Maria Olave; 208 Fruit, accumulation of trash/refuse, lsmael and Amalia Campos; 205 Frey, accumulation of trash/refuse, Miguel and Brandi Garay; 432 Locust, accumulation of trash/refuse, Myriam Concepcion Banuelos Silva; 432 Locust, motor vehicle nuisance, Myriam Concepcion Banuelos Silva;  1907 Baker, motor vehicle nuisance, Gabino Favela; and 2211 Van Buren, motor vehicle nuisance, Sandra Clanton.

• Announced the Nov. 2 council meeting will take place at the Great Bend Events Center.