Although still two and a half months away, plans for Great Bend’s 2019 Home for the Holidays Christmas Parade are in the works, Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said. The parade and related season-opening festivities are set for Saturday, Nov. 30.
“The Home for the Holidays Festival and Parade are just around the corner,” Hayes said. “This festival is our kickoff to Christmas for our community and we always look forward to our fun Holiday season.”
The theme for this year’s Christmas Parade will be “A Country Christmas” and the grand marshal will be Diann Henderson, executive director of the Great Bend Recreation Commission.
This year the city is organizing the entire event, while partners are staying on board to make sure the after-parade festivities continue as well, Hayes said.
“I think it’s great that the city coordinates everything,” Hayes said. “That way we can be all-inclusive and open to new ideas, additions and possible changes for the future.”
But, many of the long-standing crowd-favorites will also be returning, she said.
“We have a tradition in the Home for the Holidays Festival and Parade and we will stick with some of the traditions for our community,” Hayes said. For example, this is when Santa always comes to town, when the ice skating starts, The Santas Around the World Opens, and this is when the Trail of Lights officially gets underway.
The Home for the Holidays Festival and Parade also falls on Small Business Saturday, Hayes said. During the day, participating stores will host a cookie contest and it will be the Last day for Novembers’ Explore Great Bend month.
The lighted parade will be at 5:30. After that, the free activities begin.
In addition to the ice skating, train rides, wagon and carriage rides, free funnel cakes, free hot dogs will be available. It’s a time for people to come down and hear who won the $1,000, $500 and $250 Explore Great Bend prizes.
In preparation for this, the City Council Monday night approved closing streets downtown and around the Barton County Courthouse Square to accommodate the event.
“The street closings help with the safety of the children and a friendlier atmosphere for the happenings downtown,” she said. “We are asking for your support in this excitement and entertainment that helps build traditions for our community.”
Closures include Main Street from 24th Street to 12th Street during the parade from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Main Street will continue to be closed from Broadway Avenue to 12th Street for an additional two hours after the parade to allow for activities.
Also closed will be Lakin Avenue between Kansas Avenue to Main Street from 4-9 p.m., and parking on the north side of Lakin Avenue from noon to 9 p.m.