Three Christmas parades will kick off the holiday season this weekend in Callaway County.
The annual Fulton Jaycees Christmas Parade will be at 1 p.m. Saturday through downtown Fulton.
Then on Sunday at 2 p.m. Christmas parades will be featured in New Bloomfield and Auxvasse.
Fulton parade set at 1 p.m. Saturday
Martha McGrath, Fulton Jaycees president and parade chairman, said the Fulton Christmas Parade will include numerous floats and bands from Fulton High School and South Callaway High School.
"A big attraction every year are elaborate floats created by families. The Moore family has entered a float again this year. Families and organizations work hard to compete with floats using the annual Christmas theme for the parade," McGrath said.
"This year's theme for the parade is a Storybook Christmas," McGrath said.
Joe Crane, owner of Crane's Store at Williamsburg, who is active in Callaway County civic events, was chosen as this year's Grand Marshal of the Fulton Jaycees Christmas Parade. He will ride in the parade.
"The Fulton Jaycees have been doing the Christmas Parade for more than 30 years. It always has a lot of support," McGrath said.
The parade will form on the circle drive of Fulton State Hospital. At 1 p.m. Saturday the parade units will move west on 5th Street, south on Market Street, west on 4th Street, north on Jefferson Street, east on 9th Street, south on Court Street, and end between 3rd Street and 4th streets.
McGrath said organizations or individuals wanting to enter a float or a unit in the parade have until Thursday to fill out a registration form at the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce office at 409 Court St.
Auxvasse parade starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday
The Auxvasse Hometown Christmas Parade will be at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Auxvasse Alderwoman Stephanie Leverett said for the first time the parade will be on Sunday instead of Saturday.
Leverett said the time was changed to keep from competing with the Christmas parade in Fulton and at other cities.
Leverett said holding the parade at 2 p.m. also will provide plenty of time for people to attend church or any other morning plans that they may have planned.
People who have floats or other entries in parades in other cities on Saturday will have an opportunity to participate in the Auxvasse parade on Sunday, Leverett said.
An annual chili cookoff is planned as part of the Christmas Parade. The chili cookoff is named after the late LeRoy Stubblefield, a former Auxvasse Alderman.
Fulton Mayor Kevin Phares has been named as the grand marshal of the parade.
The parade will follow the traditional parade route through downtown Auxvasse, Leverett said.
Leverett said the Community Center downtown will offer crafts and hot dogs for children.
Visitors will have an opportunity to have photos taken with Santa on Sunday. In addition to individual photos, a professional photographer from Expectations LLC of Auxvasse also will be taking photos. The photos-with-Santa event will be in a gazebo at Mottaz Park in Auxvasse.
Prizes donated by local businesses will be offered for the best holiday float and the best holiday spirit portrayed in the parade.
New Bloomfield parade set at 2 p.m. on Sunday
The 22nd annual New Bloomfield Christmas Parade will be at 2 p.m. Sunday through downtown New Bloomfield.
Nancy West said the New Bloomfield High School Band will march in the parade along with about 20 units.
"Some of the parade floats are in the Fulton Christmas parade and they come here the next day. For this reason, we don't have a theme for our Christmas Parade," West said.
West said the parade will start at the New Bloomfield School at 2 p.m. The parade will proceed west on Route J to Bill's Station and turn left on Chestnut Street, then left on Glenwood at the City Hall, left on AE to the bank and then left on J back to the New Bloomfield School.
West said first, second and third place cash awards will be paid for the winners of floats. The cash prizes are based on donations received from local businesses that have contributed to the Christmas Parade prize fund.
Nick Dozier, 88, a lifelong New Bloomfield resident, has been named as the grand marshal for the parade. West said Dozier has ridden in all of the previous New Bloomfield Christmas parades. He has a 1964 Chevrolet Impala convertible.
"We have had the parade every year since it started except one. That year the snow was so heavy the parade was postponed to the following week. But the snow was still on so we were forced to cancel the Christmas Parade that year," West said.