Christmas celebration planned for Nov. 30

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By Amanda Cole

With Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas less than five weeks away, it’s time to get excited about the annual Downtown Christmas Celebration in Liberty.
This year’s celebration, with the theme “Peace on Earth,” will be from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, and feature a lighted Christmas parade, live music, wagon rides, vendors, an auction, free food and drinks, and a visit from Santa Claus.
The highlight of the event is the parade, after Santa Claus, of course, said Blaine Staat, director of the Liberty-Casey County Chamber of Commerce, which helps coordinate the event.
“The parade by far is the biggest highlight. It’s gotten better and better each year,” Staat said.
Trophies and prize money will be awarded for the top five floats in the parade. First place will receive $500; second, $400; third, $300; fourth, $200; and fifth, $100.
There has been one small change for the parade contest among the fire departments.
“We decided that starting this year, and from now on, whoever wins the traveling first-place trophy won’t be eligible to win the next year, but they will have the honor of bringing Santa Claus to town,” Staat said. “And since the Liberty Fire Department won first place last year, they’ll bring Santa in on the fire truck in the parade this year.”
The celebration would usually boast a host of contests for individuals but it has been boiled down to one contest this year to encourage participation, Staat said.
Contestants can make a wreath, of any materials or size, and turn it into City Hall between Monday, Nov. 26, and 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, to register for the contest.
Judging for the wreath contest will be at 4 p.m. on Nov. 30 at City Hall. Entries will be judged on adherence to the theme, “Peace on Earth,” quality of construction, originality and overall appearance.
Trophies and prize money will be awarded to the top three — $100 for first; $50, second; $25, third.
All of the wreaths will be auctioned off at the Christmas Celebration, with proceeds benefiting the Casey County Community Ministries’ Toys for Kids program. Official rules and an entry form are available at the chamber office at City Hall, or call 787-7106.
According to Staat, vendors will set up booths in the courthouse to sell their arts and crafts from 4-8 p.m.
The celebration kicks off at 5 p.m. with the closing of the downtown streets around Courthouse Square.
The Casey County Pork Producers will serve free chili and a host of local sponsors — Casey County Bank, Monticello Banking Company, Farmer’s Deposit Bank, State Farm Insurance, Lifeline Home Health, Amedisys Home Health and Sweet Beans and Things — will offer hot dogs, coffee, hot chocolate, cider, cookies, popcorn, candy canes and more, while it lasts.
“It’s such a great community outpouring of food and other things to give away to people,” said Mayor Steve Sweeney.
The lighting of the Christmas tree will be at 5:30 p.m., followed by an auction of donated items in addition to the wreaths from the contest at 5:45 p.m.
The lighted parade will start at 6:30 p.m. at Liberty Elementary and go west on Middleburg Street, circle around Courthouse Square, then down Hustonville Street.
Santa Claus will round out the back of the parade and be available upstairs in the courthouse after the parade for pictures with children.
“Everybody gets one picture for free,” Staat said. “The picture will be available at City Hall the following Monday (Dec. 3).”
Pictures with Santa and the lighted parade are definitely highlights, but it’s the combination of events and the people of Casey County coming together that make the event, Sweeney said.
“It’s such a great community event where everybody can get together and enjoy the Christmas season,” he said.
For those wanting to enter a float in the parade, contact Dale Hoskins at 303-3315.


Schedule of events
4 p.m. — Gifts on sale in the old courthouse until 8 p.m.
5 p.m. — Streets closed, free food and drinks, music, wagon rides
5:30 p.m. — Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree
5:45 p.m. — Auction
6:30 p.m. — Liberty Christmas Parade
7 p.m. — Pictures with Santa (upstairs in the old courthouse)