It's that time of the year again: holiday light show season. Gathered below are some of the surrounding area's holiday events and light shows.
Jefferson City kicks of the holiday season at 5:45 p.m. Friday with Living Windows, the community's annual Christmas event featuring dancers, carolers, live reindeer and even Santa! Make your way to the Governor's Mansion for the tree lighting ceremony and Candlelight Tours starting at 6 p.m., where you can drop off donations for Toys for Tots before beginning your tour of the mansion.
On Saturday, you can find floats, marching bands and more during the 83rd annual Jaycees Christmas Parade. It begins downtown at 4:30 p.m.
Following the parade, the Capital City Festival of Lights opens at Binder Park, 5840 Rainbow Drive. This mile-long drive-thru display showcases holiday-themed scenes depicting everything from Santa Claus and his elves, to choreographed lights synced with music. Vehicles enter South Binder Lake Drive at Rainbow Drive and exit on Henwick Lane. Hosted as a fundraiser for Homemaker Healthcare Community Outreach, it costs $20 per car and $35 per bus/trolley/limo. This runs from 6-9 p.m. until Dec. 31 and is closed on Mondays.
Also in Jefferson City, River Region Credit Union is home to a Christmas light display. It's open Thursday through Sunday evenings until New Year's Day. The new drive-thru display acts as a donation-based fundraiser for various local charities. The credit union is located at 3124 W. Edgewood Drive.
Other displays that are also generating Christmas cheer in Central Missouri:
• Festival of Lights in Fulton: This free light display is set up at Fulton's Veterans Park on Wood Street and is open 6 a.m.- midnight through New Year's Day. In conjunction with the light display, Fulton Parks and Recreation and the Callaway County Salvation Army are partnering for the Field of Joy, a fundraiser in which around 100 decorated trees will be displayed on the ball fields at the park.
• Unity Circle of Lights: This drive-thru holiday light park is open at Versailles City Park, junction of Missouri 5 and 52 in Versailles. The light park is free and open each night from dusk until midnight through Dec. 31.
• St. Patrick's Festival of Lights: The Shrine of St. Patrick, 724 N. Main St. in Laurie, is bringing back one of the oldest light parks in the area. The park, which began in 1981, is open daily from 6-10 p.m. with a focus on Christmas, Jesus and His Mother Mary. There is no charge to attend. This display is open through Jan. 8.
• Enchanted Village of Lights: One of the largest drive-thru holiday light displays in Mid-Missouri returns to the Laurie Fairgrounds, 269 Fairgrounds Road in Laurie. The display opens at 5 p.m. nightly and closes at 9 p.m. on weeknights, 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. It is free to drive through, but donations are appreciated. This light show will run Nov. 18-Jan 1.
• Osage Beach Holiday Lights: Running Dec. 1-31, a free light display is open from 5-9 p.m. daily at Osage Beach City Park, 950 Hatchery Road.
• Christmas in Proctor Park: Opening at 6 p.m. Saturday, the third annual lighting event returns through New Year's Eve to Proctor Park in California. Sponsored by the city and California Area Chamber of Commerce, numerous businesses and organizations provide light displays throughout the park. The display is free and open nightly.
• Shelter Insurance Winter Wonderland Garden of Lights: Located at 1817 Broadway St. in Columbia. This walk-thru holiday light experience can be viewed from 6-8 p.m. Dec.1-3, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17 and Dec. 19-21.