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Communitys holiday events ramp up Saturday
new deh xmas precede pic
One of the entrances to the Courthouse Square in Great Bend frames the city Christmas tree Wednesday afternoon. Come Saturday night, the square will be the site of the annual citywide Christmas season kickoff, including the parade and other activities. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The City of Great Bend’s Community Coordinator Christina Hayes, in conjunction with several businesses and organizations, have planned several activities that promise to not only provide entertainment, but also encourage holiday shoppers to keep dollars circulating at home.  
Already, Great Bend’s Trail of Lights holiday display can be viewed around the city.  Starting at Brit Spaugh Park, the animated lights can be found in various locations including Veteran’s Memorial Park, K-96 and 10th Street, the Barton County Historical Museum Village, and Jack Kilby Square.  
After the Thanksgiving feast has been put away, several businesses around Great Bend will offer Black Friday doorbuster deals and special sales. It will also be the final day to register for the $1,000 Explore Great Bend giveaway at Great Bend businesses.  A list of participating venues can be picked up at the City of Great Bend offices.  The Optimist Club will also start it’s annual Christmas tree sales at the Waters True Value parking lot, which will continue until Christmas Eve.  
Then, the holiday season officially begins Saturday.
Start exploring Great Bend early by taking part in the Holiday Cookie Contest.  Great Bend businesses will have samples to try, and for a $5 donation, shoppers can pick up a box, voter bracelet and map of participants at Rosewood Furniture Gallery at 16th and Main.  All proceeds will benefit the Barton County Food Bank.
From 4:40 to 7:30 p.m., the Foundry Methodist Church will provide Living Nativity portraits free at Jack Kilby Square.
Sunflower Diversified has organized the Home for the Holidays parade which starts at 5:30 p.m. at Brit Spaugh Park and will travel down Main Street to 12th.  Directly following the parade, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will join Mayor Mike Allison for the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Courthouse Square.  At that time, the winners of the $1,000 Explore Great Bend giveaway and the winner of the cookie contest will be announced at the bandshell.  
From 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., families can take free horse drawn carriage and wagon rides around the square, courtesy of Rosewood Services.  The city train will also be available for rides, and free ice skating, hot dogs and hot chocolate will be available.  
Children can meet with Santa Claus, as well as visit the Santas Around the World exhibit at 1223 Main Street.  It features 22 life-sized international Santas created by Loretta Miller, a local artist.  Santa will be there that evening until 9:30 p.m., as well as Nov. 30 from 1 to 6 p.m. and through Dec. 21, Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.
A full schedule of activities planned for the month of December can also be found in the Holiday Events Calendar available at the city offices.