OZARK, Mo. – Roughly 15-thousand people headed to Ozark to see its Christmas parade.
“It’s a big day in Ozark,” Ozark Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Greg Williams said. “This parade is in its 56th year and continues to grow bigger and bigger every season.”
People grabbed a seat from surrounding cities to watch the sea of red and green pass by.
“This year we’re estimating a crowd of well over 15-thousand people,” Williams said. “We have 100 plus float entries, which is significant.”
Williams said the parade averages between 10-thousand and 15-thousand go-ers each year. The parade is the largest event the Ozark Chamber of Commerce hosts.
“This has been kind of a new opportunity for us and for people who want to be here,” Williams said. “With various entertainment zones, food trucks, adult beverages, live music at every station along the parade route, it seems like it’s very well received. People are really getting into the Christmas spirit.”
Preparing for this parade started months ago.
“The first Christmas parade planning meeting was held the second week of July,” Williams said. “[We] have well over 100 community volunteers that have given us their time leading up to today.”
Even with an early celebration, many wanted to see the lights in front of their eyes.
“We’ve had a lot of people ask the question, it isn’t even thanksgiving yet? Why a Christmas parade?,” Williams said. “The city of Ozark and Christian county take a lot of pride in lighting the square. That lighting ceremony is consistent with this time of year. When the lights go on the parade begins.”
“I enjoyed the lighted floats and the bands that play,” Springfield resident Dana Olmstead said. “I’ve always enjoyed Christmas bands.”
“The floats are always really cool,” Nixa resident Ryder Summers said. “That’s probably going to be my favorite part.”
A kick-off for traditions as many families ring in the season.
“The holiday spirit has started in me,” Olmstead said. “We’ve been watching Christmas movies this whole month.”
“You get to spend time with your family and feel all cozy inside and presents [are] a good part of it too,” Summers said.
Springfield will be hosting it’s Christmas parade December 11.