This coming weekend is Jefferson City’s big holiday party; here’s the schedule. And everything I’m listing is family-friendly and free: Free, free, free!
Thursday, Dec. 1 (6 pm)—the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, at Rotary Park at the far north end of Bolivar Street. An annual event with entertainment, refreshments, and a visit from Santa Claus. This is a truly fun event; there’s no postmodern-anything to it, no cynicism, no advertisements, nothing but an old-fashioned, friendly, community holiday gathering. With cookies, popcorn, and hot cocoa!
Friday, Dec. 2 (6-9 pm)—Living Windows in downtown Jefferson City. They’ve been doing this wholesome event for nearly 20 years (nyah, nyah, Columbia): there are hayrides, dancers, carolers, refreshments, and much more. More than 50 groups will be participating; Santa will be at the Hawthorn Bank.
Friday, Dec. 2 (6:30-9:00 pm) and Saturday, Dec. 3 (2-4 pm)—Candlelight Tours of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion. If you have never been inside the lovely, historic public building, this is a great time to see it—at night, and all decked out for Christmas. The Governor and First Lady personally greet everyone who comes in, and high school choirs sing near the grand staircase.
Saturday, Dec. 3 (4:30 pm)—Jefferson City Christmas Parade (downtown). Holiday-themed floats, bands playing Christmas songs, and all that stuff. Ten bucks says you’ll get a free candy cane if you put your hand out! (After the parade, you might patronize one of Jeff City’s coffee shops or restaurants.)
Monday, Dec. 5 (6:30-8:00 pm) A Home for the Holidays: Jefferson City Sings for Safe Housing (at the Miller Performing Arts Center, 501 Madison St.). Local choirs sing carols as a benefit for Habitat for Humanity (which does good work here in Jefferson City). Free—but, um, since it’s a benefit, they’d love it if you donated some cash; so don’t think of it as “paying”—this is the season for giving.