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Christmas season in Fort Scott; Annual parade, festivities attract hundreds of spectators to downtown

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Participants ride aboard the Mercy Hospital float during the Christmas Parade on Tuesday night.(Laurie Sisk/Tribune)
Hundreds of spectators turned out in downtown Fort Scott Tuesday for the annual Christmas festivities, complete with a parade, Santa Claus, the lighting of the tree and a ham and bean feed.

The procession theme was "Putting the Christ Back in Christmas" and floats were judged by three people around the route, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison said.

Medicalodges took first place, Mercy Hospital, second and Peerless Products was third, Madison said.

"Mary" and "Joseph" look after baby Jesus during the Living Nativity staged by Bethel Community Church on Tuesday night at Main and Wall streets.(Laurie Sisk/Tribune)
Ann Whiteaker of Fort Scott and Adam Brockmiller of Joplin bought Whiteaker's nice Mayla Foster to the parade. "We just thought it would be fun for her to see," Whiteaker said.

"And to enjoy the spirit of Christmas," Brockmiller put in.

"She loves parades," Whiteaker added.

Melissa Stevens took her five children to the procession. "We come out every year for it," Stevens said, adding they enjoy the floats.

Allen and Billie Jo Drake attend annually. Allen noted the weather was "much more hospitable" -- warmer -- than in some previous years. Billie Jo Drake said she enjoyed the Fort Scott High School band, of which her grandson Davis Drake is a member, and "the floats have been really good this year."

Like many in attendance, Leah Gire and Daryn Wiley also come to the parade each year. "I liked it. There were a bunch of lights," Gire said.

Kathy Davis was part of the live nativity scene staged by Bethel Community Church. "It ended up we went through a practice (without music) that was a little rough, but the next one went smoothly, thank the Lord," Davis said.

Mayor Jim Adams, in the company of Dave Martin and Madison, conducted the lighting of the Mayor's Christmas Tree, accompanied by the crowd's countdown.

The lighting was emceed by Fort Scott Community College Director of Development Gary Palmer and KOMB/KMDO radio's Larry Gazaway, Santa met with youngsters to distribute goodies and take their requests. Walmart chipped in hats and gloves as well.

"I want to thank everybody for coming out and helping us celebrate the joy of the Christmas season," Adams said.

Steve Smith of Erie portrayed Santa. He participated in the parade in a yellow and black MG driven by T.F. Edmonds of Blue Mound. Both are members of the Fort Scott Scottish Rite Temple, which hosted the ham and bean feed, along with Buck Run Community Center.

This was the first time Smith had ever stood in for St. Nick.

"These kids are just delightful," Smith said, adding he has four granddaughters of his own.

Brita Rygmyr bought her 4-year-old son Cash with her to the celebration. Cash planned to request Super Mario Brothers 2.

The event was capped off by the feed, held at the Scottish Rite Temple. Scottish Rite Executive Secretary Buck Fischer said this was the first time members had hosted a post-parade feed. Fischer said about 100 people had come through so far.

"It's been kind of a steady stream," he said.

Santa came by about 4 p.m. to meet with youngsters and adults before he had to line up for the parade.

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