Great Bend’s schedule of holiday events will move into Official Christmas Mode at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with a parade down Main Street. A 13-foot Serbian spruce was planted in the courthouse square last week, so that the annual lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree can take place at 6:45 p.m., said Scott Keeler, superintendent of the city’s parks.
This new tree is located on the west side of the Barton County courthouse, and south of the sidewalk leading to the entrance, Keeler said. The retired Mayor’s Tree, removed during construction of the Jack Kilby Memorial, was north of the sidewalk.
Construction around the courthouse won’t be completed by Saturday, but the crew has promised to clean up the area for the event, Keeler said.
Free skating on the artificial ice in the square will also start after Mayor Mike Allison lights the tree. After that, free skate rental will be available until the end of the year from 4-8 p.m. Thursdays and Friday, 1-8 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.
Santa’s House is set up on the square, and children may meet Santa Claus there between 5 and 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday.
Foundry Methodist Church has a Nativity scene in the square, and families can pose in the scene and receive free living Nativity family portraits from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Barton County Arts Center, located across from the courthouse on the northwest corner of Forest and Main, will hold an open house from 5-7:30 p.m. Saturday, providing refreshments and music.
The Trail of Lights – a series of holiday light displays in Brit Spaugh Park, Veterans Park and the courthouse square – will be lit at dusk on Thanksgiving Day. The Trail of Lights also includes the Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village south of Great Bend, and a Nativity scene in the small "park" at 10th Street and K-96.