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Downtown At Its Dazzling Best For Christmas Event

This article first appeared in issue 10, and was written by Linda Waggener.

Downtown Columbia was at its dazzling best for the annual Christmas in Columbia festival.

Lights invited one's gaze from window to window, soft Christmas music played to the clip-clop of horses hooves. A long parade and a special event at the Theatre wrapped up the successful day.

And business was strong on the square. With every building active but two, the crafts booths in the courthouse may have had less business due to strong retailing around the square. Still open after five were Mitzi's, Vaughn's Gallery, Dwight's Quilting, Mackie's Photo Video, LaLoma, Moore's Pool Room, and The Theatre. Parking areas were full and people were shopping, dining, enjoying carriage rides and special entertainment.

It took about 100 hours of leadership from June Parson, CofC Treasurer, starting in October. She says she spends almost the entire week after Thanksgiving downtown in preparation for the first Saturday in December event. Her main assistant is her son, Jason, whose only pay is "a big hug" from his mom.

June has lead the event for six years. Volunteer help to put out candles in windows, tables for booths, hang the greens and decorate trees comes mostly from the jail workers program. Most businesses give money for parade winner's prizes, the carriage rides and promotion, or contribute work.

Christmas in Columbia, against the backdrop of the unique courthouse and old buildings, says 'tradition' better than Fiddler on the Roof.

Annual celebrations each year are the Adair County JayCee's Fair in July, the Lindsey Wilson College Homecoming Festival each November and Christmas in Columbia. A Fall/Pepper Festival for Labor Day is under study by the Chamber of Commerce.

Heart of Adair is encouraging a spring festival, perhaps the Giles Foundation might organize one around our nationally famous writers, or the newly formed Tree Board might hold an Arbor Day festival as leaves bud out. Or maybe both. For sure, there can't be too many events like Christmas in Columbia which brings people together for business and enjoyment.

"It's just a good feeling being downtown right now," said Sharon Burton, co-publisher of The Farmer's Pride, "We're really glad to have our business back downtown." She and her daughter shared the carriage ride.

Sharon and I agree that Adair County is better with a strong, economically healthy county seat.

Some disagree, however, wondering what difference it makes.

There are those who occasionally ask why the old courthouse should be preserved. "Why not just doze it," was a recent quote, "There's nothing downtown for me." Spoken by a fellow whose business is on the outskirts of town, who lives in a subdivision.

I don't know what difference tradition makes, it just makes a difference to people like Sharon, and June and those who fought to preserve the Theatre, the Adair Heritage Association's Trabue House, the Giles home, and all those who attend Heart of Adair meetings studying what needs to be preserved and improved next. At my age, I appreciate those to whom newer is not always better.

This story was posted on 1996-12-14 12:01:01
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Archive Photo

1996-12-14 - Photo Staff. JUNE PARSON and JASONThis item first appeared in Issue 10 of the print edition of Columbia! Magazine.
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1996-12-14 - Photo Staff. THE CARRIAGE RIDES WERE A POPULAR EVENTThis item first appeared in Issue 10 of the print edition of Columbia! Magazine.
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Archive Photo

1996-12-14 - Photo Staff. The Christmas in Columbia carriage rides caused bright smiles like these.This item first appeared in Issue 10 of the print edition of Columbia! Magazine.
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