• L&T staff report
This year’s Leader & Times’ Christmas Parade on Dec. 7 will have a few new twists from the parades of the last decade. The car give-away will still occur at the end of the parade, but it will be a brand new, silver 2013 Ford Focus that someone will drive home that night.
“For 10 years, we’ve been giving away classic cars, cars that had some character and appealed to different tastes,” said Leader & Times Managing Editor Larry Phillips. “We’ve had Cadillacs, Mustangs, a Corvette, convertibles and even an El Camino. But this year, we’re hoping the appeal of a new car will bring out the crowds bigger than ever.”
To have a chance to win the car, sign up (one entry per visit) at the business where you see the 2013 Christmas car, a new Ford Focus.
“The car is parked at all of our sponsors at different times, and when you see it, stop by and go in a fill out an entry,” Phillips said. “The schedule of where the car will be is published every day on the front page of the Leader & Times.”
Another twist this year is the parade will start at Seventh Street instead of Light Park.
“We know that people will be gathering near the fountain for the drawing,” said Leader & Times Publisher Earl Watt. “Instead of having people walk all the way down from the beginning of the parade to the fountain, we thought it would be more convenient to have the crowd closer together.”
Phillips urged groups, companies and organizations to enter a float in this year’s parade.
“We’ve got a handful right now, but people need to realize they shouldn’t wait until the last moment to enter the parade – it’s only two weeks and six days away,” Phillip said. “All you guys and gals with custom or antiques vehicles, tractors, whatever, need to call Trevor Feldhausen at the paper and tell him you want to enter the parade. It doesn’t cost you a thing, and you could win a cash prize.”
Crowd favorites will still be on-hand this year, like the entertainment, which starts at 3 p.m., prior to the parade. It will feature local talent singing and dancing.
“We block off Kansas Avenue between Second Street and Fourth,” Phillips said. “We’ll have the stage set up right in front of the Third Street Fountain and the entertainment will happen there as well as in the street in front of the stage.
“If you have never watched all the young girls from Dance Images perform, you have to come down,” Phillips said. “That is worth the trip downtown, I guarantee – they have the tiny tots to the teenagers, all in costumes, and they’re all very talented.
“What’s also really crowd-pleasing is a lot of the singers – we have eight lined up – sing Christmas songs,” he continued. “It really starts getting you in the mood for the season – I love it.”
Here is the entertainment schedule as of today:
The Star Spangled Banner starts at 2:58 p.m.
Gary Walters is from 3 to 3:15 p.m.
Angela Wesley at 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.
Morgan Bartel from 3:30 to 3:45 p.m.
Jamie Carlile at 3:45 to 4 p.m.
Dance Images will perform from 4 to 5 p.m.
Katelynn Draper at 5 to 5:15 p.m.
Cindi Martin is from 5:15 to 5:30 p.m.
Janie Kitch-Pierce will be from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m.
Steve Leete performs from 5:45 to 6 p.m.
The Christmas Parade starts at 6 p.m.
John Watson of Watson Warriors D.J. Sound System will be handling the entertainment show, and Wesley will also be the emcee for the event.
After the parade, judges will select the float winners in all the categories and announcements will be made of who or which group wins the cash prizes, which range from $50 to $250.
Then the big drawing will occur.
“A reminder for all the people who have signed up to win the new car, they have to be at the parade after it ends when the drawing is made,” Phillips said. “You have to be there to win it – you’ll have one minute to step forward after your name is called out. If you don’t show, another name is drawn.”
As always, there will be food and refreshments at the Food Court at Third Street across from the stage.
“We have four vendors signed up as today,” Phillips said. “These are typically non-profit groups who sell hot chocolate, chili, homemade desserts and things like that to raise money for special projects. This gives people choices if they’re wanting to help the Liberal High School Band or the After Prom Committee or a church group.
“There is still room for three more organizations of they want to set up from 3 to 6 or so,” he added.“Just call me at 626-0840 and I’ll assign you a spot. Remember, if you need electricity, you have to provide your own generator.”
The food court area will be blocked off Friday evening so spots will be vehicle-free when set-up starts at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“The Liberal Chamber of Commerce will also have Santa’s House set up where parents can come and take photos of the children sitting on Santa’s lap,” Phillips said. “You must have your own camera, though, but Santa will be there to listen to children’s wishes or give a hug if needed.”
The entire staff at the Leader & Times is working, planning and organizing the parade and hoping the entire community will come down to watch this year.
“This has become an annual community favorite, and we look forward to sharing the holiday with our extended family in the community,” Watt added.