|Gering celebrates start of Christmas season|
|November 24, 2011 Jerry Purvis|
On Friday evening, Nov. 25, Gering celebrates its sixth annual Christmas parade and the opening of Santa’s Village.
This year’s theme is “Make Gering Shine,” a reference to the fundraiser Gering Merchants are heading up to purchase new Christmas lights for the downtown area. New rope lights have already been installed around the vintage steam engine in Carl Gray Park and other light are being hung along 10th St. in the downtown area.
The parade starts at 6 p.m. from 10th and T Streets, then heads downtown to the Gering Civic Center.
“Our annual parade is the day after Thanksgiving and is the traditional kickoff for Santa’s Village,” said Karla Niedan-Streeks, director of the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’re hoping for a big crowd as really bad weather isn’t expected.”
There’s still time to register for groups that would like to enter a float in the parade. Participants can enter as late as 5:15 p.m. the night of the parade at Gardner Park, where the parade will organize.
Floats will be judged prior to the parade, with a $100 award for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place.
We’ve had as many as 27 floats in the parade in past years,” Niedan-Streeks said. “We average about 18 to 20. The last float always has Santa onboard, who will then be at his headquarters in the village.”
Free hot chocolate and cookies will be available for everyone as the kids talk with “the big guy” about what they want for Christmas.
Also on Friday evening, the Gering American Legion Post 36 will host a soup supper from 5 – 8 p.m. for people who want to arrive early for the parade.
Santa’s Village will be open every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. from Nov. 26 through Dec. 17.
On Dec. 3, Scotts Bluff National Monument, the Farm And Ranch Museum and the North Platte Valley Museum will also host an open house. “Trees on the Trail” is at the North Platte Valley Museum, “High Plains Christmas” is at FARM and the Monument hosts “Christmas on the Prairie.”
“All of the open houses coincide with Santa’s Village so people from around the region come to town and visit our museums,” Niedan-Streeks said. At FARM, the kids can write a letter to Santa and have it delivered by a Pony Express rider.”