It’s official. The holidays have come to Great Bend.
Residents lined Main Street on a chilly evening Saturday to watch the 2010 Home for the Holidays Parade makes its way through downtown to the Courthouse Square. Thirty two entrants walked, rode on floats or pranced on horse back as they displayed their Christmas spirit based on the theme "Our Favorite Christmas Stories."
"I think things were really successful and everyone enjoyed the evening," said Sarah Krom. Krom is with Sunflower Diversified Services which sponsored the parade for the past five years.
"This is nice," one resident said as she partook of the activities. She liked that everyone was coming together and getting along.
The parade was only the beginning of the seasonal activities Saturday. After waving at the crowds from end of the parade, Mr. and Mrs. Claus took up residence in Santa’s House to hear children’s Christmas wishes. Donations for pictures taken with the Clauses raised $64 for the Barton County Historical Society.
Braving the growing cold, young and old alike took advantage of the first chance to skate on the artificial ice skating rink. There were plenty of thuds and laughs to be heard as those inexperienced on blades plopped to the ground.
Although missed by many, another highlight was the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree. Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison and former Mayor/Christmas Parade Grand Marshal Bob Parrish flipped the switch, and the chain of lights on the small Serbian pine twinkled. The young tree replaces the larger one that was removed as part of the Jack Kilby Plaza project in front of the Barton County Courthouse.
Other activities included the Salvation Army handing out cookies and coffee, MyTown giving away hotdogs, Foundry Methodist Church offering free pictures with actors portraying the Holy Family, Rosewood Services providing wagon and carriage rides around the square, city employees giving rides in the city’s train, and a reception at the Barton County Arts Council gallery. While there were going on, some warmed their hands at fire pits and others kept businesses that stayed open for the festivities busy.
As for the parade results, with a float all about stories that Grandma tells, Completely Kids, took Theme honors. Judges included Kenny Vink, Jan Westfall and Jennifer Schartz who were impressed with the quality and diversity of the entries.
Awards in each category were:
Holiday Spirit Traveling Plaque – St. Francis Community Services
Second – Office Products Incorporated
Third – Barb’s School of Dance
First – St. Marks Lutheran
Second- Foundry Methodist
First – Christian Motorcycle Club
Second – Barton County Historical Society
Third – Mid America Mopars
First – St. Marks Lutheran
Second – Cub Scouts Pack 184
Third – St. Francis Community Services
First - Murphy, PKM, Reif Farms
Second - Craig Gowdy Family
Third – Judy Demel and Festus
First – Cub Pack 184
Second – Cub Pack 157
Third – Maddox Family Twins