Mark your calendars. St. Francois County’s season of city parades, tree-lightings and Christmas activities kicks off in Bonne Terre on Monday evening.
Bonne Terre’s Chamber of Commerce, Betterment Committee, Historical Society, City Hall and more community partners are teaming up once again for Christmas traditions, while creating at least one new tradition.
Most parade-goers will want to fuel up for the fun, first. From 4-6 p.m., at Cornerstone adjacent to Centenary United Methodist Church, 20 Park Ave., chili, hot dogs, drinks and dessert will be offered for only $6, with children 12 and under eating for $3.
The Christmas Tree Lighting
The tree in Bicentennial Park, across from the post office, will be lit at 6 p.m. and cookies and hot chocolate will be served. But the tree needs ornaments, and people are welcome to bring ornaments “in honor of” and “in memory of” loved ones to hang on the tree. If one doesn’t have ornaments, supplies to make them will be available.
Inaugural Reading at St. Peter’s
Before the 40th annual parade starts at 7 p.m., Bonne Terre Betterment Committee and Bonne Terre Historical Society are opening the doors on the tiny, historic, Christmas-decorated St. Peter’s Church, at 121 South West Main St., for a dramatic reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at 6 p.m.
Admission is free and the former Episcopal church, deeded to the historical society, is located on the latter part of the parade route.
Betterment Committee Member Patricia Murphy said the church can hold about 50 or 60 people at one time, and kids will receive a free “Twas the Night Before Christmas” coloring book while supplies last.
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“This is our first year doing this, so we’re wading in tentatively this year, in hopes to expand in following years,” she said. “But the church will be decorated so beautifully, and the kids and their parents should really enjoy it. We’re excited to offer it.”
Beth Allen, a native of Bonne Terre, will come down from St. Louis to give the reading. Murphy said since the story isn’t long, there might be an encore reading.
“Again, this is our first time trying this, so we’re taking it slow. I think we’ll be able to offer more than one reading, though,” she said.
40th Annual Christmas Parade
At 7 p.m., the parade will kick off at the intersection of Desoto Road and Division Street.
There’s still time to get in on the parade fun. This year’s theme is “Gift of Christmas” and there’s only a $10 entry fee, payable to the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce.
Floats, singers, walking groups, bands and other entries are welcome to register by contacting the chamber before 10 a.m. Monday, at 573-358-4000 and filling out a form. Floats will win $200 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place.
Of course, the couple of the hour, Santa and Mrs. Claus, accept no imitations on any of the floats. Stuffed or fake Santas and Mrs. Clauses are OK, but with their float arriving at the end of the parade, they’ve expressed the wish that no one steal their thunder or confuse any small believers along the parade route.
Line-up begins at 5:30 p.m., just make your way to Veteran's Park on Benham Street, across from Boyer Funeral Home. You will get a line-up number and you can proceed to line slots behind the police department.
From the intersection of Desoto Road and Division Street, the parade will wend its way south on Division Street, then east on Main Street to the Bonne Terre Post Office. The parade will disperse at Bicentennial Park in front of the post office.
For more information about these and other holiday events, contact the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce, 573-358-4000.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at email@example.com.
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