It’s one of the most awe-inspiring and anticipated events in downtown Farmington. Kids’ eyes sparkle with delight when they finally catch a glimpse of Santa and Mrs. Claus sitting atop the lit-up fire truck.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive to applause, cheers and excitement from fans of all ages.
After plenty of waving and welcoming, the first couple of Christmas climb down to officially open Winter Wonderland for 2019. The Black Knight Marching Band will assist the couple’s grand entrance by playing holiday music.
Winter Wonderland is a huge holiday train display hosted by the City of Farmington and Farmington Parks & Recreation Department. It’s the perfect place for children to visit and get a photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus and see a spectacular holiday site featuring the largest G-scale model rated train display in Southeast Missouri.
From the dazzling Christmas tree in the foyer to all of the lights and special touches, Winter Wonderland has been a labor of love for many city employees for many years.
The preparation for Winter Wonderland started at the beginning of November and was a full-time job for six to eight employees over the course of the last few weeks. It is a difficult task to put up such a large quantity of lights, trains and tracks, and holiday displays.
Dustin Unger is program manager for the parks and recreation department. John Bader took over Winter Wonderland responsibilities this year after Pam Inman retired.
“This is something we’ve been doing for a lot of years and people still get just as excited as they did way back when,” said Unger. “We’re always happy to do this for the community. We hope to see everyone out there at Winter Wonderland.”
Winter Wonderland is a free event open Dec. 3-20 from 6-8 p.m. each evening. About 5,000 people view the holiday display annually.
Pre-parade activities start today at 5 p.m. with hot chocolate, cookies, kettle corn and hot cider stations throughout downtown Farmington. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony is set for 5:30 p.m. on the Columbia Street side of the courthouse. Kids will even get the chance to have a photo taken with Prancer, who will be located next to the courthouse. Attendees can join in singing Christmas carols near city hall.
The Krekeler Jewelers Farmington Christmas Parade – themed “Hollywood Holiday” – begins at 6 p.m. today in downtown Farmington at the junction of Columbia and A Street and then continues down Columbia to Henry where it rounds back onto Liberty.