Fireworks, return of Santa’s House highlights a busy day for Sedalia
South Ohio Avenue was jammed full of holiday revelers Thursday night for the 11th annual lighting of the Hotel Bothwell and Furnell Landmark Building.
Temperatures in the 60s greeted crowds who sipped hot chocolate, nibbled at kettle corn and lined up along the sidewalk in front of Pettis County Courthouse for a chance to chat with old St. Nick at the Salvation Army’s Santa House on the west side of the courthouse. This is the first year back for Santa and his elves after a hiatus that began in the 1990s.
The return of the house was noted by Mayor Elaine Horn, who spoke to the crowd before the lighting.
“We are glad to see this tradition return,” Horn said. “Hopefully it will help make happy memories for years to come.”
Suse Foster, volunteer coordinator for Salvation Army said the return has gone well.
“We had a few glitches, but we have had a great turnout,” Foster said.
The Army’s Maj. Mark Haslett took on duties as Santa’s helper on Thursday, with a seemingly endless string of children asking the jolly old elf for Barbie Houses and bicycles.
The Santa House will remain open 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Christmas.
Before the lighting and firework show began, downtown visitors were treated to a music program with KIX 105.7 radio personality Bruce Enrietto serving as emcee. Performers included Mrs. Missouri All American Jessica Jones, of Marshall, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ward Choir.
Jackie Fike, of Jackie’s Salon, also took to the stage to note the return of the Tree of Light, another longtime tradition making its return to the downtown Sedalia holiday season.
The tree, on the west walkway outside of the courthouse represents the goal of “raising $100,000 for the needy people in this community” with each light representing a $500 pledge. Fike credited Heckart Funeral Home owner Sue Heckart with the first donation to the tree this season.
The event marked the end of a busy Thanksgiving for Sedalians, which began Thursday morning with the fourth annual Turkey Trot and 41st Annual Ham Breakfast at the Sedalia Country Club.
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