The director of the Drennen-Scott Historic Site will be the grand marshal for tonight’s Van Buren Christmas parade.

Tom Wing, an assistant professor of history for the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, will lead the annual parade from its beginning at 14th and Main streets, through historic downtown and to its conclusion at the Crawford County Courthouse.

Sponsored by The Old Town Merchants Association, the parade will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Drennen-Scott Historic Site is the home of Van Buren co-founder John Drennen. Under Wing’s direction, the educational facility received $5.3 million in acquisition and restoration funding from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resource Council.

Wing is currently serving as project director for the Willhaf restoration, another historic home in Van Buren. Leonard Willhaf was a german immigrant and Mexican War veteran who ran a bakery on Main Street.

Wing also has been involved in every Tales of the Crypt program at Fairview Cemetery, sometimes playing parts and other times overseeing student and volunteer portrayals.

In 2015, Wing successfully acquired a grant to place an Arkansas Civil War Centennial Marker through the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program commemorating the Union raid on Van Buren in 1862. Wing has been featured in Civil War and World War I podcasts with Van Buren as the topic.

In 2016, he published Images of America: Van Buren, through Arcadia Publishing. The book contains many never before published photographs of Van Buren. In 2006 he published the Civil War Diary of Private Henry Strong of the 12th Kansas Infantry through UA Press.

Wing was a graduate of the 2001 Leadership Crawford County Class and has presented to LCC classes on History Day since 2001. Wing has been awarded for Excellence in Historic Preservation Education from Preserve Arkansas. Under his direction, and with work by many, Drennen-Scott won an Excellence in Historic Preservation from Preserve Arkansas in 2012. Drennen-Scott has also been a finalist in the prestigious Henry Award Competition, given by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Wing has been interviewed on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian Channel and AETN.

Current projects include Civil War artillery demonstrations with Van Buren High School History Club students at Van Buren elementary schools.

In 2017, Wing was awarded the Excellence to the University, to the Profession, and to the Community Award from UAFS. Wing has bachelor degrees in anthropology and secondary education from the University of Arkansas and a masters in history from the University of Oklahoma. He is currently working on his doctorate at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas.

Wing and his wife Renee live just south of Pine Mountain in Crawford County.

The parade’s special guest of the merchants association will be Santa Claus, who will distribute candy to the children as the parade progresses down Main Street. No other Santa Claus entries or horses will be allowed in the parade. All beauty queens and pageant royalty are welcome but must furnish their own vehicles.

TOTMA is requesting all floats be lighted.

Mountainburg’s parade will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday 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.

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.