The festive spirit was in full swing Friday on Court Square in downtown West Plains, as the community gathered for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The event, attended by nearly 200 people braving the cold, marked the beginning of the holiday season in the city.
In a highlight of the evening, Santa and Mrs. Claus took center stage, delighting the audience as they lit up the beautiful Christmas tree, symbolically kicking off the festive celebrations. The atmosphere was further warmed by Johnny Hatchet’s Axe Throwing and Coffee House, who generously provided free hot chocolates to all attendees, spreading cheer and warmth.
Commemorative ornaments were also available, allowing attendees to take a piece of the celebration home.
In a deviation from tradition, City Public Relations Coordinator Cody Sanders introduced Santa Claus, quipping, “While Mayor Mike Topliff usually does the honors of introducing Santa, he couldn't be with us tonight as he had other obligations.’”
The sentiment of Christmas joy was echoed throughout the event, as community members of all ages shared in the joyous occasion. Events like the Christmas tree lighting at Court Square are a testament to the true meaning of Christmas — a time for community, unity, and shared joy. As the lights of the Christmas tree sparkle in downtown West Plains, they remind us of the bright spirit of togetherness that defines the holiday season.