Downtown Willow Springs is looking like it will be abuzz with activity today, starting with breakfast and children’s activities this morning and wrapping up with this evening’s Christmas parade.
The Willow Springs Lions Club will partner with the Willow Springs Chamber of Commerce to host Pancakes with Santa from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Lions Clubhouse, 2532 County Road 5800. The cost is $5 per person for a menu of pancakes, sausage and a drink, plus a make-and-take ornament and visit with Santa Claus. Parents are welcome to take their own photos of their children with Santa.
Then, from 10 a.m. 2 p.m., Ozarks Sweetest Bakeshop will host a cookie decorating event with all supplies provided. The cost is $10 per child and includes four cookies, frosting and decorations, and hot cocoa. The shop is located at 704 E. Main St. in downtown Willow Springs.
The Star Theatre will screen vintage Christmas cartoons from noon to 2 p.m., free of charge, and with free popcorn. Movie-watchers can come and go as they please, allowing for shopping downtown with plenty of breaks, say chamber officials.
Also starting at noon, the Howell County News office at 110 W. Main St. will hold an open house event with light refreshments and an opportunity to visit with the friendly faces behind Willow Springs’ hometown newspaper. Doors will be open until 5 p.m.
An art show hosted by the Willow Springs Arts Council and featuring artwork from area high school students will also begin at noon, as will public voting on wreaths entered into the council’s festive wreath-decorating contest. Both will take place in the upstairs level of the Ferguson Building, 127 N. Harris St. The art show will continue until 6 p.m., and wreaths will be on display — and up for auction — until the conclusion of the Christmas parade.
The Willow Springs Church of Christ will host a gingerbread house contest at the church on Bolerjack Road. Entries may be submitted between 11 a.m. and noon, and public viewing and judging will take place from 1 to 3 p.m.
Lineup for the Christmas Parade, themed “Christmas at the Movies,” begins at 5 p.m. and the parade will proceed downtown starting at 6 p.m. Entries are still available at the chamber office or online at wschamber.net. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three entries.
All attending the parade are reminded that Willow Springs city code prohibits dogs during public events. “Please leave your puppies at home,” urges chamber Director Kim McCormick.
Children with messages for Santa are reminded that Letters to Santa can be dropped off at the Willow Springs Chamber of Commerce office, 120 W. Main St., in a special box dedicated to the North Pole, located by the old gas pumps. Letters will be collected through Dec. 15, and return addresses are requested so that Santa can reply.
The 2023 chamber Let it Glow Christmas light contest is also underway, open to all city residents and businesses. Enter by Friday by emailing a photo of of the light display to email@example.com. Winners of residential and commercial categories will be announced Dec. 11.