Annual holiday festival fills Medora with Christmas cheer

MEDORA — Families were lined up all along Perry Street in Medora on Saturday to watch classic cars, emergency vehicles and floats pass during the parade for the 49th annual Medora Christmas Festival.

Jackson County’s only Christmas festival featured two days of events and a bustling Main Street this year after last year’s edition was scaled down to only a tree lighting ceremony, Christmas carols, a holiday lights contest and letters to Santa due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday night, the tree lighting ceremony was held in front of the Medora branch of the Jackson County Public Library with carols from local church choirs and music from Derrek Foster.

Saturday, which was a very pleasant and sunny day for an early December festival, featured vendors, performers, the parade and the crowning of the 2021 festival prince and princess, Macy White and Cayden Smith. They raised money by collecting donations in cans where each penny equaled one vote.

Gracing the festival stage were Jerry and Amber Henson, Donna and Wes Griffin and tap dancing group Tapp’d Seymour.

A Christmas Ball was held Saturday night for those 21 and older with music from Cody Ikerd and the Sidewinders, an ugly sweater contest and giveaways.

Medora Christmas Festival committee member Nick Walden said he was pleased to see more than 50 floats in the parade this year, up a few from recent years. The festival also featured 45 food, craft and flea market vendors this year.

Walden said he was appreciative of the many people and organizations that participated in the parade.

Morris Tippin opened the parade with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a prayer. Paul Carr was this year’s grand marshal.

The La-Or-Ma Shrine Club from Bedford was a part of the parade this year, and Walden said a few years ago, the festival committee tried to give them a donation, but they gave it back.

Next year marks 50 years since the first Medora Christmas Parade was held on Dec. 16, 1972. It featured eight floats represented by four classes at Medora High School. The parade lasted 45 minutes and the sophomore class won the floating trophy for the best school entry and earned $25 for first place in the open class.

For next year’s festivities, Walden said he expects the committee to ramp up the stakes.

“We’re going to try to go all out for it,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Zara Carroll, a senior at Medora High School, was paraded on a float inspired by the song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” that represented her class. It featured a foam deer, a camouflaged tent and signs that said “SNAP,” “BOOM” and “BANG” to imply that revenge was being sought out against a reindeer.

The Medora senior dressed as “grandma” by wearing a gray wig and a sweater that had deer tracks all over it.

After coming up with the initial idea, Carroll said it took about two hours the day before the festival to have the float ready for the parade.

“I realized my friend, Abby, went to go get the deer and it was being shot at for deer meat because he killed grandma,” she said.

Carroll said she had a positive time tossing candy out and being driven through the parade.

“It was a really good parade experience,” she said.

The Grinch, portrayed by Doug Davidson, made it for the parade and spent time walking around the festival.

Davidson, who is a member of the festival committee, said the committee decided to have him be the Grinch for the festival this year to give out toys in the parade and get everyone in the Christmas spirit.

Despite the Grinch being known for having a heart having two sizes too small, Davidson said a highlight of his day was giving out large stuffed animals to children who he said went “wild” over them.

He said quite a few people were still scared by his costume despite The Grinch’s surprisingly charitable spirit during the festival.

“We really did have a good turnout this year,” he said. “Better than most.”