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The women of Centenary United Methodist Church prepare to kick off the Christmas season with their annual chili supper. From left: Jenifer Ferguson, Jill Clemons, Jean Weber, Tiffany Schleappe holding little Maverick Stanley, and in back, Karen LaBrot who will be among the cooks for the event from 4-6 p.m. Monday, with the Christmas parade to follow at 7 p.m.

The 39th Annual Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade is set for Monday evening.

Brian Boyer, an organizer of the chamber's parade, said a good number of entries have been coming in and they will accept late entries up until the day of the parade. Interested parties just need to call the chamber office at 573-358-4000.

“This year’s theme is ‘The real Christmas Story, the birth of Jesus Christ’ and we hope to see a lot of nativity scenes,” said Boyer. “We have several area churches that have been involved in the past and are really excited to be involved again this year.”

Boyer said there are also area businesses who have been involved the past few years with floats. He said they are hoping to get a good showing again and it is always a great time.

“I’ve always looked at the Christmas parade as the start of the Christmas season and it gets people excited about it,” Boyer said. “Lineup starts at 5:30 p.m. behind city hall and the floats can enter through the Benham Street entrance. Someone will be there to check everyone in and the parade will start at 7 p.m.”

Boyer said this is the longest running parade in St. Francois County and First State Community Bank is this year’s sponsor once again.

“There will be several floats again this year and everyone is excited, and the last float in the parade - which is the chamber float - will feature Santa and Mrs. Claus,” said Boyer. “This year’s first-place winner will get a $200 cash prize, second place will receive $150, and third place gets $100 for best decorated floats following the theme.”

This year’s parade route will be the same as in the past. It will start at the intersection of Desoto Road and Division Street. They will then go south on Division to Main Street, east on Main to the Bonne Terre Post Office and will disperse at Centennial Park in front of the post office. There will be three community members judging the floats as they pass the Shepard House.

Boyer added they are really back to the roots of Christmas this year with the theme.

“It has been discussed as the theme the past couple of years and we thought it was time to do that,” Boyer said. “It was the right thing to do and we had a lot of support with the decision”

Boyer said they always have a lot sign up right before the parade and all they have to do is call the chamber office.

“They can call and leave a message to let us know they will be there,” Boyer said. “If we get inclement weather, we will make the call then and we have a couple of ideas. There are a couple other community parades that same week that we don’t want to impose on, as they don’t impose on ours.”

Centenary United Methodist Church will again host its annual chili supper Monday prior to the Christmas parade.

Sponsored by the Women’s Ministries at the church, the event will be held 4-6 p.m. at the ministry center, The Cornerstone, located adjacent to the church at 20 Park Street.

The menu will include chili, hot dogs, Frito pie, and dessert along with tea, coffee and fruit punch.

The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children and tickets are available at the church office and from any member of the church’s women’s ministries. A limited number of tickets will also be available at the door. The money raised will be used to help those in need this Christmas season.

Organizers say the chili supper was started in the early 1980s to give busy Bonne Terre families the chance to enjoy a hot meal before participating in or watching the annual Christmas Parade which begins at 7 p.m. To find out more, contact the Centenary UMC office at 573-358-2238.

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