The 28th Annual Lake Area Christmas Parade will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 in Lake Ozark.
With line up again along Highway 242 and Route MM, then turning right and proceeding down Bagnell Dam Boulevard toward Bagnell Dam, the Lake Area Christmas Parade will be led by the Marine Corps League #1137 Detachment Honor Guard with the grand marshal following them.
"The grand marshal this year is Margaret Spurrier. She is an ex-alderman in Lake Ozark and is in her 80s now," said Jeff VanDonsel of the Bagnell Dam Strip Association, main sponsor of the parade. "She is very active in community events; we couldn't put on Halloween on the Strip if it weren't for her. She gives so much to the community and never wants to be recognized for her efforts. However, we wanted to recognize her for all she does for the community, making her our parade's grand marshal."
Another major celebrity that will be part of this year's parade is Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with their adorable elves, which will be the last float of the parade. They will be arriving in style in Santa's beautiful red sleigh pulled by Casper the semi-truck, which is lit with more than 2,000 lights. Along with the lights are more than 100-feet of garland. Numerous Christmas songs will fill the air with sounds of the season, and Santa's helpers on board will toss out treats. Santa's ride is provided by Glencove Marine, the area's exclusive Formula and SeaDoo dealer at the Lake, and was built by a collaborative effort of Steve Lemens and many other faithful supporters.
VanDonsel said last year, the Lake Area Christmas Parade saw 20-plus participants and he expects to see the same amount or more. Even though the deadline to sign up was Tuesday, he said they still take entries in up to the day before the event if need be.
VanDonsel said participants expected to return include: Miss Lake Ozark Outstanding Teen and Little Miss Lake of the Ozarks, The School of the Osage High School marching band, Corvette Car Club, Camden County Saddle Club, The Lake of the Ozarks Shriners, clowns, plus other familiar motorcycle organizations, car clubs, civic organizations, business floats, cub/boy scout groups and dance troupes, just to name a few.
In addition to these many parade participants, they are also judged for prizes in the Lake Area Christmas Parade float contest. While lined up and before heading down their parade route, the participants are judged and winners are announced following the parade at post-parade activities, VanDonsel said.
He added first, second and third place ribbons will be awarded in the following categories: business; civic organizations; and youth groups (kindergarten-12th grade, including church floats). There also is a "Best of the Parade" ribbon to the overall winner. Parade entry is $10 per entry.
Following the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will go to the White House on Bagnell Dam Strip. VanDonsel said Santa will be available to greet and visit with the children and hot chocolate and cookies will be served to guests.
"We'll also have gifts to give the children when they visit with Santa," he added, with gifts on a first-come, first-serve basis. He added to bring a camera to take pictures of children with Santa and his sleigh, as well.
VanDonsel said the Lake Area Christmas Parade is one of the largest and for the entire region, encouraging families to come out and enjoy this annual event and make it a part of their holiday traditions.
"The whole Lake Area is well represented, with fire departments having trucks from Sunrise Beach, Osage Beach and Lake Ozark, to name a few," he said. "It is a good community event and a great way for the community to build their holiday spirit and get into the groove for Christmas."
For more information, contact Jeff VanDonsel at 573-365-2460 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Mike Page at 573-280-4589 or visit www.lakechristmasparade.com.