Holiday events are scheduled throughout the area.
Alma will be the first to put on its Christmas parade Friday, Dec. 5, in downtown. The parade will be at 7 p.m. on Main Street and prizes will be given out for the best decorated float and best decorated kids’ bike.
Float winners will get $100 for first place, $75 for second and $50 for third. Bike winners will get $50 for each top boy and girl entries.
Alma Public Library will have a Christmas open house just prior to the parade, from 5-6:30 p.m. There will be refreshments, music, children’s crafts and stories read by Mrs. Claus, and a basket auction and bake sale.
Van Buren’s historic Main Street will be blocked off Saturday, Dec. 13, for the annual nighttime Christmas parade at 6:30 p.m. All parade entries will be lighted, and everyone from antique car owners to children on bicycles are encouraged to attend.
Mulberry’s Christmas parade also will be Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. beginning on Main Street and ending at Kirksey Park, where kids can meet Santa.
Dyer’s Christmas parade will be held Dec. 14 at 11 a.m on Washington Street.
Mountainburg will hold its parade at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 20 with line up at 10:30 a.m. at the old truck stop. The route will end at Mountainburg Elementary School. Trophies will be awarded for best float and other categories.
Other holiday festivities include Main Street Christmas Open House and Shop Small Weekend Saturday in Van Buren.
Open House is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Van Buren’s historic Main Street will be decorated with a variety of Christmas decorations and lights, and downtown merchants will serve hot apple cider and other treats.
Van Buren’s annual Living Windows, Lighting of the Courthouse and Festival of Trees will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 in Van Buren.
Van Buren’s Historic Main Street becomes a living history lesson as merchants have live window displays depicting Van Buren’s colorful history starting at 5:30 p.m. The lighting of the courthouse is at 6 p.m. The festival of trees will also be the same night.
Chester will have Santa in the Park on Dec. 6 from 2-4 p.m. at the Chester Freewill Baptist Church next to the city park. Santa will be there for kids to visit and will be giving away gifts and door prizes to young and old alike.
Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be offered during the free event; donations will be accepted to help cover the cost of prizes.
Those who love lights can visit Alma Lights In the Park at the Alma Aquatic Center beginning Friday. The lights show will open at 5 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. each night through Christmas Day.
Admission to the Alma lights show will be free, but donations will be accepted at the gate. Proceeds go to benefit the Alma Community Outreach Center.
For the 20th year, Richard and Helen Hodo will turn on their Christmas lights beginning Thursday on Thanksgiving night at their home at 1205 Woodland Creek Circle, off Azure Hills.
At least 150,000 Christmas lights will grace the lawn of the couple, who are renowned for having the best free lights show in the region.