Holly Boyer and her little girl, Whitley, have their eyes on Christmas as they watch Little Gideons preschoolers ringing in the season last week on the Bolivar square.

Christmas is coming to town. 

In fact, it’s headed right up Springfield Avenue in Bolivar. 

The Bolivar Christmas Parade will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12.

This year’s theme is “Be thankful for Christmas.”

Entry forms for floats, bands, equestrians and vehicles are available at bolivarchamber.org under the events and meetings tab. Entry deadline is Saturday, Dec. 5. 

Cash prizes will be awarded for floats, and ribbons will be presented to equestrian entries. 

According to the chamber, the only Santa in the parade is the official Chamber Santa, and no others are allowed. Giveaways must be kid-friendly and, for the safety of children, any hard giveaways, including hard candy, should be handed — not thrown — to the crowd. 

“The Bolivar City Police Department requests no throwing items for the safety of those watching the parade,” a chamber description reads. “Risky driving behavior will be ticketed by the police.” 

UMC Thanksgiving dinner

Open Hearts United Methodist Church of Bolivar will hold its annual community Thanksgiving dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26.

The free dinner will be held as a drive-thru event this year, with diners pulling up to the church and volunteers bringing out to-go containers to load into vehicles. 

Diners are encouraged to call the church office at 326-4885 by Tuesday, Nov. 24, to let organizers know how many meals to prepare. 

Light the Park

Light the Park Christmas displays at Dunnegan Memorial Park will open the evening after Thanksgiving and remain up through the end of December. 

It’s the 17th year of the event, per the chamber.

According to the chamber, the drive-thru display — scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly — is free of charge, but local not-for-profit organizations will collect donations each night at the park entrance. 

In 2019, more than $13,000 was raised for the participating organizations, according to the chamber’s Judy Ross. 

“Thanks to a grant from the Bolivar Area Community Foundation and other generous donors, this year’s event will feature more displays and additional lights,” Ross said in a news release. “Visitors may also tune their radios to a specific setting to listen to Christmas music and messages while driving through the park.” 

Ross said the event also is a strong economic boost for the community, bringing carloads of families through Bolivar during the holidays, who also eat and shop while in town.  

A calendar of participating organizations, and the night their group will collect donations, is available on the chamber’s Facebook page and at bolivarchamber.com.   

For more information, call 326-4118 or visit facebook.com/bolivarchamber

Red Kettle Bell ringing

Community Outreach Ministries and The Salvation Army will dust off the red kettles this month in preparation for their annual Christmas Kettle Campaign. 

According to a COM news release, money raised through the campaign is used by COM to help local families with needs, including rent, utilities, transportation, medication and more throughout the year. In 2020, COM used this funding to assist 197 families with emergency needs in Polk County, the release stated. 

The first day of the public Kettle Campaign will be Friday, Nov. 27, and the campaign will continue through Christmas Eve. Donations can also be accepted online at bolivarcom.org/bellringing.

COM is currently recruiting volunteers to ring the bells at Bolivar’s Walmart and Wood’s Supermarket. Those interested may sign up for shifts on COM’s website.

According to the release, there are 432 total shifts to fill in order to offer the best chance to meet the fundraising goal of $28,000.

For more information, contact Micah Titterington at info@bolivarcom.org or 326-2769. 

SYC sign-ups underway  

Sign-up for this year’s Polk County Christian Social Ministries’ Share Your Christmas will run each Monday and Wednesday through Monday, Dec. 7, at the PCCSM Free Store. Families may also come Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9 to noon to sign up. 

The store will not be open Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Those wanting to sign up should contact Salvation Army/COM at 326-2769 to set up a time to pick up the intake form and application for SYC.

The application should be filled out completely and brought or mailed to PCCSM at PO Box 254 in Bolivar.

The angel trees, which benefit the event, are up in several stores throughout Polk County. Families with children should get their SYC applications turned in as soon as possible so gift suggestions can be added to the angel trees.

As of Thursday, Nov. 12, there were 56 families totaling 163 people signed up.

Distribution will be Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 16-17, and will be drive-through only. A waiting room will not be available.  

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, PCCSM will follow the rule of wearing a mask, social distancing if at all possible and frequent hand washing/sanitizing. 

These rules have been in effect at the PCCSM Clothing Center, according to a news release. The group plans to try to keep the number waiting inside to sign up to five and asks that no children come. 

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