‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ to the Lake Area Saturday

Santa’s Caravan event returns to Dam Bait Shop and Campground in Lake Ozark

Santa waves to guests at a past Santa’s Caravan event as he arrives at The Dam Bait Shop and Campground. This year’s event is Saturday night, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Santa waves to guests at a past Santa’s Caravan event as he arrives at The Dam Bait Shop and Campground. This year’s event is Saturday night, starting at 5:30 p.m. Photo by Samantha Edmondson.

A longtime tradition at Lake of the Ozarks returns as the community is invited to take part in Santa’s Caravan Saturday evening in Lake Ozark.

A celebrated way to kick off the Christmas season, organizers have assembled a variety of beloved activities as part of the annual event, as well as added a few new features to the festivities.

Presented by The Dam Bait Shop and Campground among numerous additional sponsors, Santa’s Caravan begins with Santa and Mrs. Claus boarding their sleigh at 5:30 p.m. at Prewitt’s Point Shopping Center. According to Dam Bait Shop and Campground owner and event co-organizer Betsey Browning, the caravan participants will gather between Lowe’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics in the parking lot of Prewitt’s Point.

“Along with Santa and Mrs. Claus, we will have fire trucks and police cars from Osage Beach and Lake Ozark. We also invite anyone else who would like to join in the caravan to join up at this time and location,” she said. “At 6 p.m. they will leave Prewitt’s Point and travel through town, arriving down below Bagnell Dam at The Dam Bait Shop and Campground property about 6:15 p.m. Lake Ozark Police will join up with the caravan at Pistols Plus, as well.”

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Guests gather around the bonfire at a past Santa’s Caravan to make s’mores and await Santa’s arrival during the popular annual event. This year’s Santa’s Caravan will take place Saturday night at The Dam Bait Shop and Campground in Lake Ozark.

However, starting at 5:30 p.m., families and guests to Santa’s Caravan event can enjoy a variety of activities that will continue on through the evening at The Dam Bait Shop and Campground property below Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark. Browning said there will be Christmas caroling, with carolers from two different area churches, a bonfire to keep visitors warm and toasty, as well as supplies to make s’mores. Light refreshments such as hot chocolate, cookies and other treats will also all be available for free. Browning said one hot dog stand vendor will also sell those treats for a nominal fee.

“Lake Sport & Spine will be adding a new activity this year, providing a variety of crafts for children to enjoy,” she added.

Browning noted after Santa and his caravan arrives about 6:15-6:20 p.m., the Lake Ozark Fire Protection District will have the large American Flag hung and ready for Santa’s arrival. Once there greeting everyone, Santa and Mrs. Claus will then join his elves, courtesy of CVS Pharmacy, on the campground’s holiday-decorated stage to visit with children, receive wish lists and take photographs, courtesy of Lake Shots.

“At 7:30 p.m., we will do a salute to the flag, and guests can continue to enjoy the many fun, free activities available during the event and by our sponsors,” Browning said.

Browning said they have put flyers out to the Osage Upper Elementary and Mills Elementary schools, hoping to draw as many families as possible to join in the festive family fun at Santa’s Caravan. She hopes this event continues to grow and attract as many residents and visitors to the Lake to help kick start their holiday season celebrations.

“One of the neatest parts of the event is to see the little ones and babies crying and getting so excited as they listen to ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ and see him making the corner to the campground on his 50-foot custom built sleigh,” she said. “It is by far one of the neatest, coolest events at the Lake, and memories of a lifetime are made there for families. It is absolutely free and fun event that takes just a few hours of fun and is close to home for visitors. Come help us celebrate the holiday season at Santa’s Caravan.”

This year’s event is being brought to you by The Dam Bait Shop and Campground, Benne Media and Z-93 the Mix; the Bagnell Dam Strip Association; Glencove Marine; Stanton Manufacturing; Prewitt’s Pointe and CVS Pharmacy, Staples, Walmart, Paul's Supermarket, Lake Sport and Spine, Hy-Vee, Lake Printing, the City of Lake Ozark, Carl’s Village Market, Rick's C Store, Smith Paper and Janitor Supply, Lake Ozark and Osage Beach Fire Protection Districts, Lake Ozark and Osage Beach Police Departments, the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau, Handy Jon and Lake Shots.

The Dam Bait Shop and Campground is located at 70 Legion Road, below Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark. For more information about Santa’s Caravan, call the Dam Bait Shop and Campground at 573-365-9135.

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