Benton County Readies To Usher In Holiday Season

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
With only two weeks until Thanksgiving, plans are coming together to feed family, friends and neighbors with turkey and pumpkin pie feasts. Although many of these celebrations will take place in private homes, several local restaurants, businesses and organizations are also working to offer traditional, free, or low-cost Thanksgiving dinners in a public setting, that provide a fun, social occasion.
Four Warsaw businesses are planning a free Thanksgiving Day dinner at the Warsaw Community Building beginning at 2:30 PM. It is sponsored by Nee Nee’s Italian Steakhouse and Catering, R-Bar, Ink Logic and The Landing. The menu will include ham, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, rolls, cranberry sauce, desert and drinks.
“The event will also include face painting, music, a silent auction, games and a raffle,” said Genia Townsend, who along with her husband, Dave, own Nee Nee’s Italian Steakhouse. “Of course the meal is free, but we hope to raise money with the extra activities in order to support a local charity. We invite anyone who wants to come. Those who might be alone on Thanksgiving and want to be around people and have fun are welcome.”
Townsend said that anyone who wants to make donations or buy raffle tickets before the dinner may contact Nee Nee’s Italian Steakhouse at 660-438-4421, or Ink Logic at 660-438-2300.
American Legion Post 217, in Warsaw, will also offer a free traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Hall, but it will take place on December 1, and begins at noon. It is open to the public.
Shirley’s Highway Café, in Lincoln, is planning a Thanksgiving dinner at the First Baptist Church in Lincoln on November 28, from 11:30 to 1:30, in Foster Hall. The dinner is provided with an optional free-will donation. Planners say that if you have a little bit to give, then give a little bit. If you have nothing to give, then give nothing. A quilt raffle will also be held during the dinner. Funds raised will support Christmas for Kids.
If anyone knows of a shut-in who would enjoy the dinner, or knows anyone who needs a ride to the dinner, please call Shirley’s Highway Café at 660-547-3500.
Christmas shopping and entertainment is already in progress with many activities throughout Benton County. The Warsaw Holiday Market takes place on Saturday, November 16 at the Warsaw Community Building, from 9 AM to 3 PM.
Christbaumfest, the Cole Camp Christmas-themed craft show, is scheduled for Saturday, November 23, at the Lutheran School and J.C. Building, from 9 AM to 5 PM. And, in Clinton, the Annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony and Lighted Parade takes place November 29, in the Historic Downtown. During this celebration there will be a story time, living history night, meeting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a living nativity scene. From 5 to 7:30 PM. Hot cider, hot chocolate, eggnog and cookies plus holiday crafts for kids will be provided by Hawthorn Bank  in the Elks Lodge 1034 Banquet Hall.
On November 30, Lincoln will have its Mayor’s Christmas Tree Stroll-Lighting Ceremony. Various school choirs will be singing in the Little City Park, Community Christmas trees will be on display and kids activities, refreshments and family entertainment will be offered. Lighting of the trees is at 7 PM.
Cole Camp’s Christkindlmarket is scheduled for December 6, from 5 to 8 PM. It includes lighting of the Festbaum at 6 PM, Santa pictures, Christmas tree judging, free hot chocolate, carolers, farmer’s market and more.
Kaysinger Christmas will be held at Kaysinger Bluff Pioneer Village at 29027 Visitor Center Road in Warsaw on December 6 and 7, from 3 to 7 PM. Decorations and celebrations from the 1800s will be experienced, and shopping is available at the Kaysinger General Store.
A Holiday Homes Tour is planned in Lincoln on December 8, from 2 to 5 PM. Six unique and beautifully decorated homes are on the self-guided tour for a ticket price of $15. Tickets are available at Farmers Bank of Lincoln, City Hall or Johnson’s Accounting and Tax.
Christmas on the Harbor will take place at Drake Harbor, in Warsaw, on December 13-14. It will include a chili/soup dinner, Christmas Trees Charity Contest, Christmas parade, Breakfast with Santa, The Grinch, a Candy Cane Hunt, hayrides and thousands of lights and displays throughout the harbor and downtown Warsaw.
“There have been a few changes in Christmas on the Harbor this year,” said Warsaw City Clerk Jesse Kendall. “The Hayride has been moved to Friday night instead of Saturday night so that the parade will be the grand finale. The merchants are also taking a bigger part in the festivities this year. They will have a card that can be cut out of our schedule flyer and taken to different shops. After a certain number of shops have verified the card holder’s visit, the card will be entered in a drawing for gifts.”
Lincoln’s 28th Annual Lincoln Christmas Parade and Craft Fair is on December 14, from 10 AM to 2 PM. Craft Fair doors open at 10 AM in the little gym, and the parade begins at 11 AM on Main Street. The Benton County 4-H/FFA Youth Fair will be hosting a Free-Will Donation Chili/Soup Dinner in the school cafeteria.