The lighting of the Crawford County Courthouse, Festival of the Trees and Living Windows will bring the Christmas holiday spirit to downtown Van Buren on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Visitors will have the opportunity to browse downtown as Main Street merchants transform their shops into holiday displays with “Living Windows” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Participating businesses will have live scenes in their storefronts and shop windows depicting Christmas traditions and festivities. Many will be open with holiday treats available.
County Judge Dennis Gilstrap will flip the switch to light the historic courthouse at 6 p.m.
The lighting ceremony will be preceded with Christmas music by deputy county treasurer Daniel Watson, Kevin, Josh and Timothy King and Mark Strunk and the welcome by Gilstrap and Jim Petty, chairman of the board of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce.
Following the lighting, the Van Buren High School Junior ROTC color guard will present the colors, followed by Jennifer Brammer’s singing of the National Anthem and Christmas music by Bethany and Stephine Smith and Kimberly Parker.
The Rev. Chris Johnson, pastor of Van Buren First Baptist Church, will offer a prayer for the U.S. military and their families. The Rev. Gary Perry, pastor of Visionary Christian Church, will give the closing prayer.
Petty will announce the winners of the 13th annual Festival of the Trees, organized by the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce.
Festival of the Trees features uniquely decorated trees, sponsored by local businesses and organizations. The trees will remain on display through the Christmas season.
Event sponsors are Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap and staff, Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission, Dustin Booth State Farm Agency, Joseph Rhodes State Farm Agency, Breeden Ram Truck Center and Crawford County Adult Education Center.
Tree sponsors are Abilities Unlimited, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arvest Bank, BancorpSouth, Centennial Bank, Chance 2 Dance Studio, Don Newton Farms, Heritage United Methodist Church, Hill Vision Center, Hope’s Creek Retirement and Assisted Living, Kiwanis Club of Van Buren, Myers-Beatty Engineering, Press Argus-Courier, Strategic Realty Companies, The Old Town Merchants Association and Time Striping.
Free hot dogs will be provided by Joseph Rhodes State Farm, popcorn by Crawford County Adult Education Center, hot chocolate by State Farm Insurance - Dustin Booth and Associated State Farm Insurance and cookies by Crawford County employees and Crawford County Extension Homemakers clubs.
Programs will be distributed by Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 4048.
Santa will be at the Albert Pike School House after the lighting program to take wish requests from the children.