The Home for the Holidays Festival and Parade is just around the corner, and plans are already underway, Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes told the City Council Monday night.
The annual event is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25.
“It’s Great Bend’s way of inviting Santa to town and kicking off our Christmas season,” she said. This year the city is organizing the entire event, with partners staying on board to make sure the after-parade festivities continue as well.
To help with this, the city approved some street closures requested by Hayes for the event. These include:
• Main Street from 24th to 12th street during the parade from the hours of 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Also, the Police Department will help keep the intersections cleared especially around Lakin Avenue for the parade.
• Keeping Main Street closed from Broadway Avenue to 12th Street for an additional two hours after the parade, giving the horse-drawn carriage, train rides and free food vendors access to the street area.
• Lakin Avenue from 4-9 p.m. and parking on the north side of Lakin Avenue from noon to 9 p.m.
She appreciated the support of “the excitement and entertainment that helps build traditions for our community,” she said The actions help create a “friendlier atmosphere for the happenings downtown.”
In addition to street requests, Hayes said other plans for the holiday kickoff are in the works. The parade is part of day full of activities in downtown Great Bend.
That Saturday will be Small Business Saturday with Black Friday specials and there will be the Christmas cookie contest during the day. Then, there is the parade at 5:30, Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting, the return of the ice skating rink (gone last year due to construction in Jack Kilby Square), train and buggy rides, free food and hot chocolate and the opening of the Trail Of Lights.
“You can do all the traditions of Christmas on Thanksgiving weekend,” Hayes said.
In the meantime, she is already looking for volunteers as “cheerleaders for Great Bend” to be Trail of Lights greeters. These are the folks who hand out goodie bags during the evenings to visitors entering the trail at Brit Spaugh Park.
But, there are observations before that, she said. The holiday open houses will be on the first Saturday in November, Caught You Shopping in Great Bend on the second and social media promotion and contest Selfie Saturday on the third.