“For the blessings we enjoy — for the happiness that is ours, we ought to be grateful. Our hearts should blossom with thankfulness.” — Robert Ingersoll
It’s Thanksgiving, a time to set aside differences and give thanks for all we have. In Barton County, today marks the beginning of the holiday season, with appearances by Santa just around the corner.
Anyone who needs a Thanksgiving dinner is invited to come to Great Bend’s First Baptist Church at 1600 19th St. today between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
A turkey dinner with all the trimmings may also be purchased at the Elks Lodge, offering a buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
There’s no rush to get through today, but be prepared for a flurry of festive fetes for the next 30 days.
Friday, Nov. 25, the city of Hoisington will have its Downtown Christmas Lighting at 5 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce Office.
On Saturday it’s Great Bend’s turn with the annual Home for the Holidays activities, going on from 5-10 p.m. The courthouse square is the place to be when the parade comes down Main Street. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in the parade, and have promised to stick around afterward to meet children.
Then Mayor Mike Allison will lead the tree lighting ceremony. After-parade activities include living Nativity portraits, cookie contest and open house at the Great Bend Public Library. Santas Around the World will be open, and the Trail of Lights will light up.
Shoppers will find bargains on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
Looking ahead, the season is filled with music. The annual Jingle Bell Swing Big Band Dance is set for 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Great Bend’s American Legion, 1011 Kansas Ave. Barton Community College’s Hilltop Singers will provide entertainment and music for the evening, along with a 16-piece big band. This event is a fundraiser for the Hilltop Singers. Tickets are $15 or two for $25, and will be available at the door.
Larned’s annual Christmas Parade will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 3. Lineup begins at 10 a.m. at the Welcome Inn, and the parade will travel along Broadway from 4th to 6th. This year’s theme is “Christmas movies” and judging will take place between 10:15-10:45 a.m.
Shafer Gallery at Barton Community College will hold its Holiday Open House at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 at the gallery in the Fine Arts Building. In addition to appearance by Santa, there will be performances by the McCrae Puppet Theater of Kansas City at 1:30 and 3 p.m. The gallery’s current exhibit is “New York Beauty: New Quilts from an Old Favorite 2016.”
In conjunction with the gallery’s open house, the BCC Planetarium will offer holiday- and winter-inspired light shows every half hour from 1-3:30 p.m. The show is called “Star of Bethlehem.”
Claflin’s Christmas tree lighting and market will get underway at 2 p.m.. Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Claflin Community Center, located at A Street and West Park Street. Clydesdale team wagon rides will be available from 2-6 p.m., Santa Claus arrives at 3 p.m., and there will be a freewill donation chili supper from 5-7 p.m. The Christmas tree lighting will be at 7:30 p.m.
On Monday, Dec. 5, Barton Community College’s music department will present a holiday vocal and instrumental concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium.