Lights And Programs-- Making The Town Magical For Christmas

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Christmas 2017 will be celebrated in Warsaw with many spectacular events to entertain and create a joyful holiday spirit. The Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department, Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, Christmas Committee and local businesses and organizations are teaming up to provide many free events, and two inexpensive meals that are sure to appeal to a wide range of residents and visitors.
Thousands of Christmas lights will turn on at the harbor on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They will run every night through January 2 to be viewed by walkers or those who want to drive through the area. As in previous years, the number of lights and displays has expanded over those  present in the last Christmas on the Harbor.
Christmas on the Harbor 2017, Descending the Decades, takes place on December 8-9, at Drake Harbor. Friday activities begin with a Chili/Soup Supper in the Warsaw Community Building, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. It is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Ladies and tickets are $5 in advance, or $6 at the door. Tickets are available from Susan Cooner, 660-483-5522, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM; or at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 660-438-3844. Free collector’s mugs will be given out with the first 200 purchased tickets, compliments of Equity Bank.
During the supper, local choirs will perform including Warsaw High School Madrigal, John Boise Middle School 6th and 7th grade choir, and Kool Keyboard Kids. The Christmas Marketplace will be open in the gym with a variety of items on sale. Some of the vendors will be Country Charm, S&B Kettle Corn, Bentonshire Farms, Hillbilly Dreamin’, The Landing, and Ink’d by Design. There will be many handmade, homemade, and unique items for sale. Check out everything from Christmas wreaths, ornaments, and signs to shirts, hats, homemade jams, jellies, soaps and more.
Something new this year during the Chili/Soup Supper will be a display of Trees for Charity that will be decorated by businesses, civic organizations, churches, individuals, and others, with décor relating to a favorite Benton County charity. Visitors to the Community Building the evening of November 8th (and Saturday, the 9th) may vote for a tree by putting money in a bucket in front of that tree.  Each penny donated counts as one vote, and the tree that gets the most votes (money) wins. The money from all of the buckets in the contest will be given to the winner to donate to a charity of choice. Those wishing to register for this free event can do so at Scroll down to Christmas on the Harbor, New and Exciting Events.
After the supper, shopping, music and voting, take a stroll down to the harbor to view the lights display.
Saturday, December 9th, begins as children have Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 AM. Breakfast is served from 9 to 10 AM while Santa reads “The Night Before Christmas.” Afterwards,  participants can decorate a cookie, write a letter to Santa, take part in face painting and make cards for homebound seniors. Tickets are $5 each (pre-sale) and $7 at the door. They may be purchased at the Parks and Recreation Department, Warsaw Senior Center at Harbor Village, or at Warsaw Health & Rehabilitation. All proceeds benefit Christmas Outreach to Area Seniors. The event is sponsored by the Benton County Human Services Council.
The Christmas Market, and Trees for Charity will continue in the Community Building on Saturday. Several local businesses plan Open Houses that day. At 4 PM, the Warsaw Community Christmas Cantata will be performed in the Community Building. The Cantata has been sung in several churches and will be part of a local church service on Sunday, December 10.  A Parade, sponsored by the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, will follow the Cantata. At 6:30 PM Santa and his Elves will appear at Drake Harbor. Children are invited to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Quick photos may also be taken by parents who have cameras.
Other events that evening include free hayrides and a petting zoo, Crazy Deb’s Karaoke, free hot apple cider provided by Hawthorn Bank, and hot chocolate and cookies provided by New Hope Baptist Church. There will be coffee and food vendors selling kettle corn, pork rinds and other items.
In addition to ticket sales locations for the Chili/Soup Supper and Breakfast with Santa listed above, they can also be obtained from Suzie Broderson at State Farm Insurance, or Kelly Stackhouse at Anstine Realty.
Parks and Recreation Director, Susan Cooner, said the goals of these events included providing family entertainment for residents and visitors that would be treasured for a long time.
“Christmas, for many adults, is about feelings and memories,” said Cooner. “A lot of us can remember fond holiday memories from 20 years ago or so that remain with us and make us happy. We want to make it possible for those who take advantage of these events to build memories that they will have for the future too. These events are also excellent ways to bring people to Warsaw. If they are spending money here, it helps our community. For the few events requiring participants to buy tickets, those funds are given back to the community in various forms.”
Cooner wants to thank all those who have helped plan and activate these events including the Christmas Committee members: Susan Cooner, Lynette Stokes, Mac Vorce, Chuck Alcorn, Suzie Brodersen, Charlene Million, Amie Breshears, Kelly Stackhouse, Jimmy White, Barb Zillner, Kristin Fisher and Jessica Kendall.
Other December events to look forward to in Warsaw include the Kaysinger Christmas, December 1 and 2 at the Kaysinger Bluff Pioneer Village, and the Drop and Shop, December 20, at the Community Center, 6 to 9 PM. Parents may drop off their children ages three and up, for $7 a child, and go shopping for last minute gifts, or just take some time off. Children will be in a safe environment where there will be hot cocoa, crafts and movies.