Friday, November 21, 2014

TOP STORY >> Holiday events planned in area

Leader staff writer

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series notifying readers of holiday happenings. If you’d like your event listed, please call Sarah at 501-982-9421.

While only a few are hosting Thanksgiving events next week, the upcoming holiday season is set to be full of holly jolly Christmas fun.

First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville is hosting a Thanksgiving meal for the community and church members at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the family life center. Volunteers are still needed and should arrive at the church an hour before the meal if they would like to help with setting up, serving and/or cleaning up.

Jo Ann Silvi, the church’s office administrator, said she expects hundreds of people to attend.

The event is part of Mission 5000, which provides meals twice a week for those in the community who are less fortunate. The meals are at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.

Average attendance is about 150, Silvi said, with Saturday’s meal sometimes feeding about 200.

Volunteers run the program with no paid staff. Food is purchased through donations and received from a local food bank.

About next week’s event, Silvi said, “For someone who might not have the chance to go and have a good Thanksgiving with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes…This is the opportunity to, at no cost, enjoy Thanksgiving.”

Other free meals planned include a Ward Community Thanksgiving supper from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. today at Cornerstone Assembly Church, 13 Brewer St., and a Thanksgiving Day dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Beebe First United Methodist Church, 302 N. Main St.

The annual Cabot Community Thanksgiving Feast has been canceled. Organizers wrote on its website that they were too “overwhelmed” to host it because they started a new ministry over the summer in Mountain View. The website says, “We asked for someone in the community to take over the feast (with our guidance) but there was no one that could take on that huge responsibility.”

But all is not lost for Cabot residents in need. Re:New Church’s food pantry will be open by appointment on Tuesday.

They will give Thanksgiving food boxes to needy families who call 501-286-7966 to make an appointment. The food will have to be prepared at home.

Christmas will be in full swing for The Leader’s coverage area after Thursday.

The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department is hosting the 37th annual Holiday Craft and Gift Sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the community center, 5 Municipal Drive. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 12-18.

The Christmas Gifts and Décor Bazaar at the Ward Chamber of Commerce Com-munity Building, 80 W. Second St., will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on “Small Business Saturday,” which is Nov. 29.

The first of many parades will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2 on Main Street in Jacksonville. The fee to enter a float is $25. Proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club.

Call Laura Walker at 501-982-4316 or email her at to register.

Mayor Gary Fletcher said the parade is being held on a Tuesday because people had left early in the past for larger events in Little Rock. He added that 15 floats and one lighted truck had signed up.

Trophies for the float contests will be awarded during the annual tree-lighting ceremony at Jacksonville City Hall. That will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, with the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department’s new mascot, the “Holiday Hog.”

The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce has chosen economic development director Barry Sellers to serve as the grand marshal for this year’s Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 6.

The rain date is Sunday, Dec. 7. The parade’s theme is “A Candy Cane Christmas.”

Sellers was surprised to have been chosen after having moved to the community almost a year ago for his current post.

But, he said, “I just honored and humbled and very appreciative that I’ve been so welcomed.

“I couldn’t ask for a better place.”

Beebe’s parade will also be held on Dec. 6. It starts at 6 p.m. from the school campus on Badger Drive, and the theme is “Star Spangled Christmas.”

Judging for awards in civic, commercial, educational and religious categories starts at 5.

The parade will be scheduled for the following Saturday if there is inclement weather.

Parades in Cabot and Ward are set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, respectively.

Ward entries are being accepted through Dec. 12 while Cabot’s deadline is Dec. 8.