Area weekend events calendars appear as packed as Kriss Kringle’s gift bag on Christmas Eve.
Perhaps most notable among the cornucopia of events is the Ottawa Christmas parade, which is set for noon Saturday. The parade begins at Forest Park, 600 N. Locust St., and finishes at City Park, Fifth and Main streets.
“[The parade] is something exciting to do in the daytime with the kids,” David Hood, who organized the parade with the Ottawa Main Street Association and his wife, Helen Hood, said. “It gives the family something to do and gets people downtown.”
The parade is set to feature dozens of floats, several bands, dance clubs, the Shriners and a variety of other entertainment, Hood said. Before the parade, Hood said, families are invited to participate in the Ottawa Recreation Commission’s candy cane hunt. During the hunt, which is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday at City Park, Fifth and Main streets, children can scour the park for candy and other prizes, the ORC’s website says.
After the parade, Hood said, families are welcome to have cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Dietrich Cabin in City Park.
Richmond library Christmas event
RICHMOND — Christmas comes to Richmond this weekend.
The annual Richmond City Christmas Festival is planned for Saturday. The festivities are expected to start at 6 p.m. with a tree lighting ceremony on the corner of Central and North Ransom streets. Dinner will follow at the Richmond Community Building, 205 E. Central Ave.
After dinner, Santa is expected to arrive and to read “The Christmas Story” to children. Children then will have an opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.
Following time with Kriss Kringle, winners of the best-lit house within the city limits, as well as winners of the Richmond Public Library raffle, will be announced.
Santa Claus Express
BALDWIN CITY — It appears the jolly old elf himself will act as conductor for Midland Railway’s Santa Claus Express this weekend.
Baldwin City’s Midland Railway, 1515 W. High St., is set to offer a Christmas-themed train ride at 10 a.m, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The ride will feature Christmas music, caroling, a cookie and hot cocoa, according to Midland Railway’s website. In addition, Santa Claus will offer kids a small gift or candy cane as well as be available for photographs.
Train ride tickets are available www.midlandrailway.org
Midland Railway recommends passengers dress warmly and bring blankets, as the train has limited heating.
Festival of Lights
BALDWIN CITY — Santa Claus is expected to make another visit north of Franklin County this weekend in a Baldwin City parade.
Baldwin City’s annual Festival of Lights Parade and tree lighting ceremony, which also is known as Christkindlmarkt, is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday at the Eighth and High streets. The parade, which will traverse through Baldwin’s downtown, is planned to begin at 6 p.m., Jill Underwood, office manager for the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce, said in a press release.
Santa Claus, who will be making his entrance on an antique fire truck, is expected to be available for photos after the parade. The 700 block of High Street will be closed for the festival, Underwood said.
RMH Christmas Homes Tour
A holiday homes tour Sunday puts classic and modern households on display with Christmas cheer in abundance.
The Ransom Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s Christmas Homes Tour is planned for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at four Ottawa homes: 434 S. Walnut St., owned by Kelley and the Rev. JC Kelley; 1104 S. Cedar St., owned by Sam and Peggy Caylor; 404 S. Maple St., owned by Dr. Allan and Adela Fleming; and 518 N. Spruce St., owned by Maggie Loyd.
Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $10 per ticket before Sunday and $12 per ticket the day of the tour. Advanced tickets are available at Chris’ Corner Quilt Shop, Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, Turner Flowers, Country Living and the information desk at Ransom Memorial Hospital. Tickets are available at the hospital information desk the day of the tour, beginning at 11 a.m. Tickets will not be sold at the homes, and all visitors, regardless of age, must have a ticket, organizers said.
Ottawa University has invited Franklin County residents to its traditional Vespers service this weekend. The free, public service is set for 4 p.m. Sunday at the Fredrikson Chapel, 1001 S. Cedar St., Ottawa.
During the celebration, the OU orchestra and concert choir will perform works by Johann Strauss, Sr., Louis-Claude Daquin, Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, George Frideric Handel, William Byrd, Mozart and Thomas Campion, OU said in a press release.
The program also will include passages from the nativity story, and audience members will have the opportunity to sing familiar Christmas carols, OU added.