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Festival of Lights | Holiday Parade | Holiday Lightings | Memorial Tree

2015 Holiday Parade

'Lights, Camera, Christmas!'
November 23, 2015

CAPTION: Children aboard The Polar Express travel Washington Street during the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce's 69th annual Holiday Parade Saturday morning. This entry won first place in its float category and also received the Parade Grand Marshal Trophy.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Click here for more Holiday Parade Photos courtesy of the C-T. >>

Despite temperatures in the mid 30s, a large crowd attended Chillicothe's 69th annual Holiday Parade Saturday morning. People lined Washington Street and watched as many clubs, organizations and businesses highlighted holiday movie classics, such as "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", and "Eloise at Christmas." Some entries put an unique spin on the classics and presented entries such as "The Molar Express" and "Chillicothe Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," featuring Chevy Case (Case Contracting, a local contracting company). The parade's theme was "Lights, Camera, Christmas!," and featured more than 80 entries. The parade was sponsored by Hedrick Medical Center, Hy-Vee and Midwest Gloves and Gear, and was timed at one hour. The parade was announced live from the courthouse location on Washington Street by Dave Rogers and Tony Clark. Entries were judged on use of theme, originality and appearance. The entry by Bishop Hogan Memorial School featured children aboard "The Polar Express" and won not only first place in its division but also the Grand Marshal Trophy. Grand marshal for the parade was Randy Dean, who has worked for KCHI radio for 22 years and is operations manager and sports director. Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney was part of the parade and was accompanied by elementary school students Gavin and Mea Campbell, who were chosen to help Santa turn on the lights for the annual lighting ceremony that came Saturday evening. They are the children of Adam Campbell and the late Katie Campbell. They rode in the parade in a vehicle driven by their father. Chillicothe bands played holiday music throughout the parade. They included the Chillicothe High School Marching Hornets as well as Chillicothe Middle School's 7th and 8th grade bands. Bands from Hamilton and Linn County (Purdin) also performed. A special entry in the parade carried the theme of "Happily Ever After" - an entry by Phil and Beth Moise, who were married on a float in Chillicothe's Holiday Parade 17 years ago. The couple wanted to come back to where it all began and celebrate the occasion with the family and the people of Chillicothe. The parade also included a vehicle entry by Duane Campbell, whose father Agell Campbell, drove the same 1961 Chevy in the parade each year for the past 25 years. This year, Duane drove the vehicle in memory of his father. Miss Missouri McKensie Garber, of Hale, was a special guest in the parade. Highlights for the parade also include the Kansas City Royals mascot, Sluggerrrr; and K.C. Wolfe, the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Parade results are as follows:

  • Float Division - Youth
    1st place: Busy Bees 4-H Club with the theme of 'Songs of Whoville,' the Busy Bees 4-H Club represented the Christmas movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." 2nd place: Dawn Happy Hustlers 4-H Club - "A Charlie Brown Christmas." 3rd place: Cub Scout Pack 120 as the stars of their very own big screen production, "Lights! Camera! Cub Scout Christmas!" This film was rated "F" for FUN.
  • Float Division - Business/Organization
    1st place: McCoy, Samples & Mattingly Dental Clinic put its own spin on the popular movie, "The Polar Express" with the "Molar Express" to win top float in this division. 2nd place: Case Contracting made its own adaptation of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," featuring Chevy Chase. 3rd place: Comfort Inn & Suites made its adaptation of "Eloise at Christmas" with its entry, "Eloise at the Comfort Inn."
  • Float Division Non-Profit Organization
    1st place: Bishop Hogan presented its entry with the message that The Polar Express is a movie about having faith and believing... Bishop Hogan students believe in the miracle of Christmas. 2nd place: The Tornadoes took second place in this division as the Griswolds in "Christmas Vacation." 3rd place: The Moila Shriners with their Hot Sand Bugs entry. Their cars glittery gold dune buggies with souped-up engines.
  • Band Division - Trophies
    1st place: Penney High School - The Hamilton Marching Hornets, with 35 members in grades 8 through 12 under the direction of Brandon Wehmeyer. 2nd place: The Linn County Marching Mustangs, of Purdin, under the direction of Jamie Phinney, with drum major Britane Hubbard. The band consists of approximately 33 members in grades 7-12.

Parade Plans Announced

The Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that "Lights, Camera, Christmas" has been chosen as the 2015 Holiday Parade theme. The Holiday Parade this year will be sponsored by Hy-Vee, Hedrick Medical Center and Midwest Gloves & Gear. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 21, 2015 in downtown Chillicothe and will include floats, bands, vehicles, animals, mascots, and, of course, Santa. All businesses, organizations, churches, youth groups, scout troops and schools are encouraged to have an entry for the parade. The grand marshal this year is Randy Dean, local radio personality and long-time supporter of the Chillicothe Hornets.

The 69th Annual Holiday Parade is organized by the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce through its Parade Committee. "Entry forms are required for parade entry," according to Crystal Narr. "You may pick up the form at the Chillicothe Commerce Center, 514 Washington Street, or print one from our website at under the 'Featured Event' heading." The parade entry deadline is this Friday, November 6. Letters detailing parade number and lot location will be mailed prior to the parade to those who have entered.

"The committee chose the parade theme this year since it lends itself to a typical holiday tradition of watching Christmas movies with family," explained Narr. "We hope people will have fun coming up with movie-oriented holiday decorations for the entries." All participants are asked to decorate their parade entry. Entries can choose to be in judged or non-judged categories. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three places in each judged category. The judged categories are business, youth organizations, and non-profit organizations. Parade judging will take place during the parade, with the announcement of the winners to follow on Saturday afternoon. 

Many bands or musical groups from around the area will also be involved as a part of the parade, including the Chillicothe High School Marching Hornets and the Chillicothe Middle School 7th grade and 8th grade bands. KC Wolf, official mascot of the Kansas City Chiefs, sponsored by Trenton Coca-Cola Bottling, will also make a return visit to the Holiday Parade along with many other area mascots.

Entry is free if received by Friday, November 6, 2015. After that date, a $25 fee will be charged for each entry. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 660-646-4050 or

Ornaments Placed on Tree in Memory of Loved Ones
By Brittany Tutt
November 20, 2015

CAPTION: About 175 people filled Silver Moon Plaza Thursday night to watch the first annual Memory Tree lighting ceremony. Main Street Chillicothe sold memorial ornaments prior to the ceremony. Inside the ornaments were names of loved ones that will be missed this holiday season. Each name inside the ornaments was read aloud, one by one, and a bell was rung after each name in their honor.

C-T Photos / Brittany Tutt

Thursday night, Main Street Chillicothe's first annual Memory Tree lighting ceremony was held. A crowd of about 175 people packed the Silver Moon Plaza to watch the lighting of the 12-foot-tall memorial tree, according to Micah Landes, Director of Main Street Chillicothe. Before the event, people were able to purchase ornaments for the tree and write the name of a loved one to be displayed inside the ornament. 100 ornaments were sold and hung on display. Before the lighting occurred, the Children's Choir of the First Baptist Church sang. Landes then welcomed everyone. "We would like to welcome you to what we hope is a new and long-lasting holiday tradition in downtown Chillicothe," Landes said. Main Street Chillicothe's Promotion Committee Chair, Teri Gardner, also welcomed the crowd. "There is no better time than the holiday season to honor those who are no longer with us and to cherish their memories. That is why starting the Memory Tree tradition was important to us. We are fortunate to have this beautiful tree, in this beautiful plaza in our beautiful community to serve as a reminder throughout the entire holiday season that although our loved ones may be gone, they will never be forgotten," Gardner said. Pastor Rob Hurtgen of the Chillicothe First Baptist Church then gave a special message and said a prayer. Landes and Gardner read each name on the ornaments aloud one by one. After each name, a bell was rung by Dave Goodwin in their honor. After the last name was read, Landes said "For all the good people who have gone before us, doing so much good for Chillicothe." Then, assistant director of Main Street Chillicothe, Ben White, lit up the tree, which illuminated the names of all the loved ones people are missing this holiday season. The Memory Tree will be taken down January 4; those who purchased ornaments may pick up their ornaments Jan. 5-8 at the Main Street Chillicothe office.

Memorial Tree Planned for Downtown
November 2, 2015

A new holiday tradition is being planned for downtown Chillicothe this year, and Main Street Chillicothe is inviting everybody to take part. The Memorial Tree will be a new addition to Silver Moon Plaza. Community members can purchase ornaments to place on the tree to honor the memory of a loved one who has passed. Special ornaments can be purchased from Main Street Chillicothe for $10 each or three for $25. This includes a card where those wishing to participate may write down the name of the person they are memorializing. The card can then be placed in the ornament and then the ornament will be hung on the tree. "There is no better time than the holiday season to honor those who are no longer with us and to cherish their memories," said Teri Gardner, a volunteer with Main Street Chillicothe. A Memorial Tree Dedication and Lighting Ceremony is planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 19 in Silver Moon Plaza. Those who would like to honor a loved one's memory as part of the Downtown Memorial Tree this holiday season should contact Main Street Chillicothe at 660-646-4071 or by email. Ornaments may be purchased at the Main Street Chillicothe office which is on the second floor of the Commerce Center at 514 Washington Street in beautiful downtown Chillicothe.


Holiday Lightings

November 30, 2015

This photo was taken from the roof of Lauhoff Jewelry located across the street from the courthouse in downtown Chillicothe. From the rooftop, the downtown lights glow.

C-T Photo / Brittany Tutt

Darin Newman, owner of Illuminations by Newman, has been lighting up downtown since 2006. Newman began by lighting up the Chamber of Commerce block with 1,500 feet of lights in 2006. He now lights up the entire downtown with about 13,000 feet of lights (10,000 to 11,000 feet on the courthouse and City Hall alone). Newman began putting up lights for people in 1997, but he had no idea it would turn into a successful business. Illuminations by Newman now has five crew members (counting Newman himself), and they have about 140 homes to decorate every year, plus the downtown buildings.

Festival of Lights Ceremony November 21
November 10, 2015

The longtime Jenkins Lighting Ceremony at the Jenkins Christmas Village will not take place in 2015, but some elements of the ceremony have been transferred to the Festival of Lights opening night celebration event in Simpson Park. The festival ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 21. After reviewing the condition of lights and decorations that have become unusable or worn over the years, a decision was reached with the Rotary Club of Chillicothe and Carol Jenkins, the surviving daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Jess Jenkins. The Chillicothe Rotary Club had been involved in the Jenkins Lighting ceremony and program the past three years. Over many years and in preparation of the annual ceremony, the women of the Jenkins home have been faithful in hanging lights, setting up holiday displays, and rehabbing the worn items to the best they could with limited funding and available resources, according to Chuck Haney, a long-time announcer of the Jenkins Townhouse Christmas Village lighting. Honoring the Jenkins family and their impact on the women at the home through many decades has been an important part of Chillicothe, Haney said. Carol Jenkins will attend the Festival of Lights ceremony in Simpson Park, and she and her friends will be getting a personal escort to Simpson Park where Carol will be introduced and recognized. The Festival of Lights Committee has agreed not only to include Carol in the program but also the Central School Stingers directed by Dan Venner. The Stingers, a choral group of more than 100 students, have been singing at the Jenkins ceremony for the past several years and will continue to do so at the Festival Lights program. "While we are saddened by the discontinuation of the Jenkins event we are also very excited that certain aspects from the Jenkins Ceremony will continue," Haney said. "We are thankful to the Festival of Lights Committee and Director Barb Burton for being so helpful through this transition." The student that has been selected from Field School and was a part of the ceremony at Jenkins will continue to be a part of the lighting ceremony at Simpson Park as well as riding with the mayor in the Holiday Parade. The student will be announced later this week by the school and Rotary Club and will receive gifts at the ceremony from Bank Midwest and Mayor Haney. The starting time for the festival of lights is at an earlier time this year to accommodate the additional elements in the program. See more here... 


The Christmas season is fast approaching and work has started to ensure the downtown area is prepared for when the holiday lights are turned on in less than six weeks. Darin Newman, of Illuminations by Newman, replaced light bulbs on the Livingston County Courthouse Saturday morning, October 3, 2015.

CT Photo 10/07/15

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