The 40-minute event, sponsored by the Monett Chamber of Commerce, offered a large number of floats and a panorama of favorites from bands and antique vehicles to marching and equestrian units.
Santa Claus, riding high above the crowd on a pumper truck provided by the city fire department, led the parade. The 1951 restored police car donated to the Monett police and a color guard from the local veterans organizations also led the procession. The Monett High School Marching Pride Band played "Joy to the World" to set the spirit for the occasion.
Floats found many ways to make a visual package around the parade theme "Christmas on Broadway." Some focused on traditional Christmas ideas while others took Broadway shows for inspiration.
In the religious float division, Temple Baptist Church took home first place honors for a salute to the nation's soldiers. A sign at the head of the float declared, "God bless our U.S. military for protecting our right to worship." The float itself had a family scene in a living room around a Christmas tree, not far from a manger scene. At the back of the float was a sign declaring, "Another Christmas without our soldiers."
The Church of the Nazarene won second place with a float primarily made up of a full band including a lead guitarist, keyboard and percussion. A manger scene on the end sat near a theater marquee for the Bethlehem Box Office that read "A Star is Born."
Taking third place was the entry from the First Baptist Church in Monett built around the song "New York, New York," which begins "Start spreading the news." With a large globe sitting in the center, the float showed many ways of spreading the word about Jesus, from a TV and internet connection to a mocked up Monett Times edition announcing the birth of Jesus.
In the non-religious division, first place for floats went to the entry from the Barry County Fair Board. Christmas lights decorated an animal pen carrying a large sheep next to a rustic wood backdrop and a Christmas tree.
In second place was a retelling of "A Christmas Story" by the Monett Health Care Center. Many elements from the classic film were displayed from the "leg" lamp in the living room to a child with his tongue stuck to a flag pole.
Cornerstone Riding School in Monett took third place with a variation on the film and Broadway show "Hairspray," which they turned into "Flyspray." Beside an eight-foot high can of spray, several "cast" members sat around the float with a miniature horse. Hanging across the length of the flatbed trailer on both sides were photo portraits of the school's students taken with their horses, displayed as movie marquees.
Other notable floats included the recreation of a U.S.O. show from the 1940s, complete with uniformed dancers and a trumpeter playing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," presented by Tom Wolfe Memorial Post #4207, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Hobbs-Anderson American Legion Post #91.
KidsXscape childcare center offered up a 70th anniversary salute to "The Wizard of Oz" film. The Southwest Area Career Center's child care class recreated the setting for the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with the fireplace, Christmas tree and family furniture occupied by the class's young clients.
The Monett FFA created a movie theater set with an audience seated toward the screening of the classic film "White Christmas," as a recording played of Bing Crosby singing Irving Berlin's title song. Over the banner of "Boot Scootin' with the Pierce City FFA," the Pierce City High School students put on a line dancing demonstration around the Christmas tree on their float.
This year's parade had two bands in addition to Monett High School. The Purdy High School took home first place honors, and the Wheaton High School Band earned second place.
Top honors for vehicles went to Scott
Gwinn's 1929 DeSoto for antique cars. Don Cole took home Best in Show honors for his 1969 Corvette for late model antique cars. The 1954 turquoise original fleet truck from Tri-State Motors won Best in Show for antique trucks. The Monett Historical Society's Ford F-100 truck took second place.
Among the marching units, the Southwest Area Career Center Junior ROTC group won the top prize.
Larry Julian from Mr. J's Tuxedos in Aurora won Best of Show for mounted entries. There were no horse-drawn entries this year.
Organizers were pleased with the event. Prizes are available from the Chamber of Commerce office.