The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce will kick off the Christmas season Saturday, Dec. 1 with their 11th annual Dickens Christmas Faire, starting at 8 a.m. in downtown Neosho.
The day will start with the third annual breakfast with Santa, scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Civic.
The breakfast is free and children will have the opportunity to have their photos taken with Santa.
Shana Griffin, executive director of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, said there will be a professional photographer on hand who will be selling photo packages, though parents are also welcome to take their own photos for no charge.
There will also be craft projects for children, including Santa hats and stockings to be decorated.
Also at 8 a.m., the Neosho High School Choir Booster Club will be sponsoring a Choral of the 5K run/walk, beginning at the soccer fields at Morse Park. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the run starts at 9 a.m.
Participants are asked to register beforehand by contacting Tracy Lett at 312-9711 or by going online to www.joplinroadrunners.com, where they can download the entry form.
Registration is $25.
The Dickens Faire event will also include demonstrations for children and adults, as well as more than 20 craft vendors, who will be set up in the Civic.
Griffin said the event will offer attendees a wide variety of items for Christmas shopping.
There will also be horse-drawn carriage rides around the Neosho Square, going from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The rides are $3 per person and will start at the Neosho Civic. Individuals can get a $1 off coupon for the rides at any Dickens Faire sponsor locations.
Griffin said the event draws a large crowd each year, and is a way for the Chamber to offer a unique Christmas event for the Neosho community.
"We wanted it to be an old-fashioned Christmas," Griffin said. "It just grows every year."
At 5 p.m. the traditional lighted Christmas parade will begin making its way along it's normal route, starting at College and Spring Street, then south at Wood Street, then east on Hickory Street, then north on Washington Street, and ending at Washington and McCord Streets.
This year's parade theme is "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Griffin said more than 85 entries have registered for the parade so far, and organizers are expecting up to 120 participants.
Participants can join in the parade that day, however, those who wish to be judged need to register with the Chamber beforehand.
New to the faire this year will be a Christmas Jazz performance, scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Neosho Civic.
"We thought it would be a great addition," Griffin said.
Page 2 of 2 - The Jack Mitchell Band will be performing, and ticket proceeds are going to fund the Neosho High School Marching Band's spring trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children, and can be purchased from band members, at the Chamber office, or at the door.
For more information, contact the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce at 451-1925, or visit them at 216 W. Spring Street.
Full Schedule of Events:
8 a.m. - 5K Run/Walk starting at Morse Park soccer fields
8-11 a.m.: Breakfast with Santa, at The Civic
8-11 a.m.: Photos with Santa
8-11 a.m.: Kids Craft projects (personal stocking or hat)
8 a.m.-4 p.m.: Craft and food booths and craft demonstrations at the Civic and the historic downtown Square
9 a.m.- 2 p.m.: Horse drawn carriage rides ($3 per person — get your $1 off coupon at area sponsors)
5 p.m. — Lighted Christmas Parade
7 p.m. — Christmas Jazz with Santa (featuring the Jack Mitchell Band) at The Civic
Dickens Faire sponsors:
American Family Insurance – Hughes Agency, Angela's Salon & Day Spa, Arvest Bank, Boulevard Bank, Cheezies, Community Bank & Trust, Edward Jones – Kevin Hatfield, Eric Norris State Farm Insurance, First Community Bank, ING Financial – Robert Hargrave, Kelly & Compton CPA's, Lyerla Sheet Metal, Marco Group, Mills Park Centre, Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store, Neosho Daily News, Jarden Consumer Solutions, McDonald's Neosho, Redico Supply and Silhouette Imaging.