Thanksgiving feasts and family get-togethers are the focus for many this week, as preparations are being made for spending quality time with family and friends in fellowship.
However, Thanksgiving Day also serves as a reminder that Christmas Day is fast approaching, and both of these special holidays are well underway with special affairs and offerings. Many events include opportunities to give back to community, while others offer free family-friendly experiences.
Nonetheless, the festive season is upon us and many opportunities abound for welcoming the Christmas spirit and enjoying holiday festivities. Here are a few to consider.
In Ava, a local holiday food drive is being organized, and scheduled to run from Dec. 1 – Jan. 7. Sponsors are asking for non-perishable food items with a valid expiration date to be dropped off at the Farmers Insurance Office located at 916 Springfield Road, Unit B, in Ava.
Rosanna Proctor who serves as the local Farmers Insurance agent, will be on hand to accept items. This season, Rosanna is partnering with the local Kiwanis Club as sponsors of the charitable event. And, for those who participate, each donated food item will qualify individuals for entry in a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card. he winner will be selected on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
All food items will be donated to the Douglas County Children’s Division in January 2020 –– the donation will be a welcomed new start for families, in the New Year.
On Thanksgiving Day, Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, with food service starting at 2:00 p.m. According to organizers, the meal offers a complete menu with turkey, stuffing and sides; but, if dessert is more appealing, stopping in for a sugary treat with coffee and fellowship is an option as well. The church is located 14 miles west of Ava on Highway 14.
Set Free Ministries is hosting a Turkey Feast on Saturday, Nov. 30 with free food service from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Set Free is located at 212 North Jefferson Street, in Ava. For more information, visit Facebook.com/SetFreeAva.
Local Thanksgiving festivities also include the Little Farm Store Restaurant at Cedar Gap who is hosting a Giving Thanks Community Dinner on Nov. 28, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The event is free, however, canned goods are requested as a donation for the WCN Food Pantry in Mansfield. The Little Farm Store is located at 520 Lucky Road, Seymour, Missouri.
Coming up on Saturday, Dec. 7, the first-ever Cardinals Christmas Carnival at Hammons Field is being presented by Price Cutter. he event is offered as a time to enjoy family-friendly fun and holiday cheer.
The event is free and open to families throughout the southwest Missouri area. Those attending are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to this year’s Toys for Tots campaign. Representatives of the United States Marine Corps Reserve and iHeart Media will be available to collect the toy items.
The Cardinals Christmas Carnival will take place in the Hammons Field Indoor Training Facility. The event opens to RED Access Members at 9:00 a.m., and to the general public at 9:30 a.m. The event will conclude at 11:30 a.m.
The Carnival includes photos with Santa (and Louie Claus) in front of a #CardsChristmas themed backdrop, inflatables for kids, Christmas-themed crafts, drawing and face painting; donuts, coffee and hot chocolate from Price Cutter; milk and orange juice from Hiland Dairy; a chance to show off your arm and win prizes with the “snowball throw”; and a live Christmas music sing-a-long featuring Dallas Jones. All free.
In Ava, Melancholy Roasting has also started hosting an Indoor Market on Saturday mornings as a showcase venue for local folks to display crafts and wares. The coffee shop which is located at 232 South Jefferson Street, just south of the Ava Square, is hosting the open market opportunity in a large room behind and adjacent to the coffee cafe. If interested in participating in Melancholy Roasting’s Saturday morning market, please contact the coffee shop, as space is currently available.
In Springfield, on Saturday, Dec. 14, the Fruitland Road Country Church is bringing the Farm Hands Quartet of Nashville, Tennessee to the area. The evening is open to the public. Games and crafts begin at 4:00 p.m., and a free supper at 5:30 p.m. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.
According to organizers, the band is an award winning blue grass band, and in 2018 was touted as the top rated blue grass band. The event is free, however, a love offering will be taken.
Learn more at farmhandsquartet.com
For a small fee, the Sugar Island Christmas Company is offering an opportunity for families and friends to create new Christmas memories in the Ozark hills, at the Sugar Island Farm located on CR 953 south of Squires off JJ and CR 946.
The Christmas Company offers hayrides, games, make and take ornament crafts, scavenger hunts, snacks, hot cocoa, a Christmas Shop and more.
Sugar Island Christmas Co. opens Friday, Dec. 20, from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., and will remain open during the evening hours of Saturday, Dec. 21 through Tuesday, Dec. 24. Entry is $4 per person, with ages 2 and under free. For more information and detailed directions, please visit sugarislandfarm.com
With Christmas just around the corner, and holiday gift lists on everyone’s mind, please note Small Business Saturday is being recognized this Saturday, on Nov. 30. In the search for the perfect holiday surprise, please remember to visit local businesses, as Ava’s specialty shops and boutiques offer many wonderful and unique items. And, they are conveniently located.
Please make the effort to include locally-owned stores in your holiday gift shopping experience this season, as they are a vital part of our community.
And don’t forget the Ava Christmas Parade scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, at 1:00 p.m. The theme this year is “A Star-Spangled Christmas.” The parade is sponsored by Ava Area Chamber of Commerce.