It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and local residents will have the opportunity to gather this weekend to celebrate the season during the 45th annual Medora Christmas Festival.
The festival began in 1972 in the small community in southwestern Jackson County, and Nick Walden, vice president of the festival, said the event will feature all of the traditions everyone looks forward to each year.
“Everyone loves it, and everyone loves Christmas, and we have something for everyone,” he said. “If it’s not just the parade, it’s the vendors, food and music that people enjoy.”
On Friday, people can gather for the annual tree lighting ceremony for the community’s Christmas tree at the Medora branch of the Jackson County Public Library. Medora Christian Church and Medora Methodist Church members will be there to sing, and hot chocolate and popcorn will be available.
The tree lighting ceremony also will feature the winners of the Christmas light contest for Carr Township residents. Walden and other committee members vote on the best lighting and yard displays in town.
Walden said he enjoys the ceremony because the tree lighting brings local residents together in the spirit of the Christmas season.
“It’s great to get people out the night before,” he said. “Whereas the festival is kind of for everyone out of town, the tree lighting ceremony is for the town’s people to get together the night before and light the Christmas tree.”
Saturday’s schedule features a number of Christmas-themed activities for families. Some of those include stage performances, the crowning of the festival prince and princess, the parade, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the library and more.
And of course, there will be plenty of food.
The Medora Conservation Club will have fish and tenderloins for sale, and the festival features a number of other food vendors.
“We have a lot of food options for everyone throughout the festival,” Walden said.
He said attendees also may enjoy going through the crafts and flea market to get a jump-start or finalize Christmas shopping.
“People like what they’re able to find there,” he said. “It’s just another way to say there’s something for everyone here.”
The festival will come to a close when everyone can gather at the Christmas ball at the Carr Township Conservation Club.
This year’s ball will feature disc jockey Josh Clark from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Walden said many of the day’s event and activities include things for families and children, while the dance is geared more for the adults.
The ball also features an ugly sweater contest and silent auction items that include an autographed football from the Indianapolis Colts, NASCAR qualifying tickets and other items.
All of the money raised from the festival will go to support the next festival and projects organized by local service groups.
Walden said he enjoys participating in the festival each year because of the atmosphere Medora provides.
“I love the down-home feel of it all,” he said. “We’re small, we’re quaint, Medora is quaint, but this has always been exciting and something we all look forward to. It’s just been the Medora thing, and we’ve always had the parade.”
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45th annual Medora Christmas Festival
7 p.m.: Tree lighting ceremony in front of the Medora Library (lighting of the Christmas tree, free hot chocolate and popcorn, musical entertainment by a Methodist choir and acoustic holiday music from Jerry Henson and Amber Hatfield)
9 a.m.: Food, craft and flea market vendors open
9 a.m.: Scarlet 2 White performance
10:15 a.m.: Limestone Ramblers performance
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Refreshments and gift card drawings at Hague Funeral Home
11:30 a.m.: Driven performance
12:30 p.m.: Crowning of the 2017 Medora Christmas Festival prince and princess
1 p.m.: Parade (opening prayer by Pastor Skip Breeden, national anthem performed by Morris Tippin and grand marshal is former parade announcer Larry Bennett)
After the parade: Children can get selfies with Santa and have cookies and drinks with Mrs. Claus at the Medora Library while Driven performs again
8 p.m. to midnight: Christmas ball at the Carr Township Conservation Club with disc jockey Josh Clark (ugly sweater contest, door prizes, 50/50 drawing and silent auction; tickets are $10 and may be purchased at State Bank of Medora or from committee members)