Ladies night out will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in historic downtown Van Buren.
Jingle and Mingle will include live music from recording artist Brittany Morse and others, who will fill downtown with the sounds of Christmas, according to Mark Shaffer of The Old Town Merchants Association.
“Shoppers will enjoy lots of specials and giveaways from participating merchants,” Shaffer said. “Restaurants will remain open and Miss Muffet’s food truck will be on site with a special Ladies Night menu.”
Participating merchants include Firefly Boutique, Metro Gallery, Key Lime Crush, Natural Treasures, The Peddler, Attic Treasures, Boom-a-rang, Spinning Wheel, Blissful Pup, Western Legacy Art Gallery and Miss Muffet’s.
Meanwhile, the annual Holiday Market is set to take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15, and again from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 at the Center for Art and Education, 104 N. 13th St. in Van Buren.
The annual Holiday Market will feature artwork created by 20 or more area artists, said Brent Gunnels, a community relations manager for the Center for Art and Education.
On Saturday, downtown Van Buren’s annual Living Windows, Lighting of the Courthouse and Festival of Trees will begin at 5:30 p.m.
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.
Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap will flip the switch to light the historic courthouse at 6 p.m. and Festival of Trees winners will be announced. The event will include holiday treats and music, and children can visit Santa at the Albert Pike School House.
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.
Those who want to see the annual Christmas lights show in Alma can visit Lights In the Park at the Alma Aquatic Center. The lights show will open at 5 and close at 10 p.m. each night through Christmas Day.
Admission to the Alma lights show is free, but donations will be accepted at the gate. Proceeds go to benefit the Alma Community Outreach Center.
Cedarville’s Christmas Open House will be held at the Old Rock School building on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vendor tables are available for $10.
Saturday’s lunch will be soup or chili with a dessert and drink, all prepared by members of the quilters club. A quilt raffle drawing will be held at 4 p.m.
Cedarville and Mulberry will both hold their Christmas parades on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Cedarville’s parade will line up at Cedarville High School and travel to the Old Rock Schoolhouse, where participants will be awarded and kids can meet Santa.
Mulberry’s Christmas parade will begin on Main Street and end at Kirksey Park, where kids can meet Santa.
Mountainburg and Van Buren have both set their Christmas parades for Dec. 9.
Mountainburg’s parade will begin at 11 a.m. with line up at 10:30 a.m. at the old truck stop. The parade will end at Mountainburg Elementary School, where float trophies will be awarded and kids can meet Santa, get gifts and enjoy some treats.
Van Buren’s historic Main Street will be blocked off for the annual Christmas parade set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Everyone, from antique car owners to children on bicycles, is encouraged to attend.
Chester will have Santa in the Park in Chester City Park on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. Dinner will be served, and Santa will be on hand to give gifts to area children during the free event.
Dyer’s Christmas parade will be Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. on Washington Street. Lineup is at 6:45 p.m.