Neosho was the place to be for Christmas festivities on Saturday, as the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce held their 11th annual Dickens Christmas Faire.
The day kicked off with a Breakfast with Santa at the Neosho Civic, which organizers estimated drew at least 400 area children.
“Santa made a grand entrance this morning and the kids in here were just really ecstatic to see him,” said Chamber member Debbie Werneke.
She said last year’s breakfast drew approximately 300 children.
The kids were served up a free breakfast of pancakes and sausage and got to chow down with St. Nick.
Following the breakfast, Santa made his way to the stage, where children could line up to sit on his lap and have a photo taken.
Surrounding Santa on the stage were several craft tables, where children had the chance to personalize their own stocking.
For the Price family, decorating stockings during the Dickens Faire has become a tradition, and this year was no different.
On Saturday morning, Cindy Price and her three grandchildren, Kdee and Destiny Price and Dakota Jones, gathered around a table adding their personal touch to their stockings.
“They just love to make the stockings, they make one every year and we take them home,” Cindy Price said. “We always come and just make it a whole family day.”
For Kdee Price, Santa is the hit of the show.
“I like coming to it because you get to eat breakfast with Santa, and you get to talk to him and sit on his lap and stuff,” she said.
For her sister, Destiny, the carriage rides around the Neosho Square are the highlight of the day.
While the children’s activities were in full swing on the stage, the main floor of the Civic was filled with vendors’ booths, selling everything from blankets to homemade fudge.
Diane Toomoth shared a booth with her two daughters, Nichole Burtis and Lorena Gabriel. She said this is the first year the trio had sold items at the event.
Toomoth said her most popular item was the fudge.
“It’s my mother’s old-fashioned marshmallow fudge,” she said.
While several events went on in the Civic and on the Square throughout the day, the main attraction, the lighted-Christmas parade, kicked off at 5 p.m. and drew a large crowd lining the streets along the parade route.
This year’s parade theme was “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and the parade featured an estimated 100 entries.
The results for the top entries were not available as of press time on Saturday.
Page 2 of 2 - Among the parade entries were Clifford the Big Red Dog, with Scholastic, Smokey the Bear, Santa’s seven reindeer with the Seneca FFA, and of course, Santa Claus, riding atop a fire engine alongside Neosho mayor Richard Davidson.
Jim Jackson, who served as an announcer at the parade, told the crowd before the start that this year’s parade had drawn near-record attendance.
The day of festivities wrapped up with the Christmas Jazz with Santa show at the Civic, featuring the Jack Mitchell Big Band and benefiting the Neosho High School Wildcat Band.