The headline this year is that Webb City's 144 acre King Jack Park is back in action again as a drive through attraction after being unavailable in 2015 due to work being done on the park.
I can seldom resist a chance to juxtapose Christmas starts with real celestial bodies.
Also back is the Polar Bear Express aboard the #60 street car.
Rides are offered November 25th and 26th, and December 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th.
They have designated time blocks for the rides at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets, if available, can be had on site or at Webb City's City Hall, 200 South Main Street and at the Chamber of Commerce at 112 West Broadway. Prices are $1 for everyone over three years old; kids under 3 are free. See more of its history here.
The metal walking bridge in the park is decked out in lights again, though the trees have grown since this photo. From the Webb City website: "At one time the Georgia City Bridge was the oldest extant all-metal vehicular bridge in the state of Missouri. Built in 1871, it is a one span, bowstring arch truss bridge."
The Webb City high school mascot is a cardinal, as seen in this flock of same that has been in place downtown for at least the last seven Christmas seasons. It's up and running in 2016 as well. Webb City uses wreaths with electric candles downtown on its lamp posts and alternates the colors of red and green.
While not strictly speaking a Christmas attraction, the Route 66 Movie Theatre is often decked out for the holiday and shows Christmas movies.
This year (2016) it does not have a Christmas tree atop the marquis, at least not yet.
The Burpo chiropractic office at 26 South Main features skeletons in the window display dressed for various holidays. This Christmas is no exception.
Mrs. Claus is not left out.
Barely in Webb City and just across from the SW corner of the Joplin airport are two homes with novel decorations. This one at 25 Colonial Drive outlines its architecture, uses dripping lights in vertical windows and a Gemmy Industries life-size Santa.
It looks exactly like this in 2016.
Just north of the above home on S Colonial Drive, the constellation of Orion rises above a house displaying "Joy" and several of their own stars. This is one of my area favorites as they often do something similar with the stars in trees. Here's what they did in 2014.
Still to Come?
Some years, this house on the SW corner of W 3rd St. and S Webb Ave. displays huge decorations of the type one usually sees in municipal displays. Here it is in 2010.
A detail from their 2015 display shows store window display styling and deeply saturated colors.
Usually another noteworthy home is at 329 S. Oronogo on the NE corner of W. 4th and S. Oronogo. but there'll be a year's hiatus due to an injury the owner suffered. We wish her well and thank her for some fun displays.
This is an evolving post; I will add photos as people put up decorations, which can be as late right before Christmas.
The most dominant features of Main Street are the plastic lanterns that adorn light poles from 8th to 20th streets. This also contains the city's best neon signs, from the newly-reopened Fred and Red at 1719 South Main Street...
...to Wilders at 1216 South Main St.
Since 2006, the windows of Joplin's City Hall, 602 S Main, have been decorated in a style reminiscent of mid-20th century downtown department store Christmas displays, which is fitting as the city hall is in the former Newman's Department store, built in 1910.
This year's unveiling of the Christmas Window display was held November 28, 2016. The theme this time is snowmen, as in this collection of various blow molds. I've been shooting pictures and video of the windows every year since it started. Here's 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012, when the theme was Route 66 ( Facebook album, video)
New for 2016 is s a big improvement in the Christmas display at Spiva Park on the NE corner of 4th and S. Main. There's a light show centered around a tall pole tree. The tree operates from 5:30 until 11 p.m. This was shot at the unveiling on November 28.
A statue of art and education patron George Spiva (1904-1967) appears to regard part of his legacy. The Whoville-ish panels cleverly conceal the bagged cherubs that are part of the fountain in which the display sets.
Club 609, a restaurant and bar at 609 South Main, owns a sleigh and reindeer that were once at the Dan Stanley Ford dealership. This year they are not displaying them but do have out a few vintage decorations and some whimsical Christmas-themed art.
A home at 2420 N Independence Ave in the Royal Heights area of Joplin has a model railroad in a display case and a box where you can leave letters for Santa. A sign says they'll be answered if an address is included.
Murphysburg Historical District
The Murphysburg Historic District is a stretch of historic homes on Sergeant Avenue from 1st Street to 7th Street and Moffet Avenue from 1st Street to 4th Street. The Shifferdecker home, 422 S. Sergeant Ave., is decked out for Christmas just as it was in this 2015 photo.
This year a sleigh has been added.
This picturesque house at 315 S. Sergeant looked great in the early 2014 snow and is decorated the same way for 2016. The district decided not to hold DickensFest this year due largely to a shortage of volunteers but plans a biennial homes tour starting in 2017 that will alternate years with the homes tour in Carthage.
Oak Pointe is a housing development, the entrance to which is at N. Jackson Ave and West 42nd St, north of Freeman Hospital. Although new-ish and not historic, many of the homes put up nice Christmas displays, like this one at 1202 Carrington Terrace with the huge angels and nice nativity.
And here's that nativity.
Santa gazes down of passers-by from a window at 1011 Carrington Terrace.
Last year, the lawn of Jack and Becky Walling, 612 Seville Circle Drive, was the star attraction of the neighborhood but it looks as if they may have carried through with their plan to move.
On your way to or from Oak Pointe, you could see the driveway of Freeman Hospital, which is lined with dozens of red and green trees. The streaks in between them in this picture are from passing cars in the time exposure. Here's another view. There are more lights to the south of the main buildings.
At the other end of Joplin is the Roanoke district where money tended to go in the middle of the 20th century, before being attracted to housing developments to the south. I never heard this name for it when I was growing up, as it was simply "North Town" or "Snob Hill." This oak tree in Crestwood Park was an ambitious decorating job. It's at the corner of Crestwood Drive and Manitou Road.
In the 1970s and 80s, many Roanoke homes used green C7 lights at Christmas. This uniformity is no longer the case and C7 bulbs are largely a thing of the past, but one can still find a few houses that are predominantly green.
Just west of the intersection of NW Murphy Blvd and N Lone Elm Road, this starkly-lit tree has been a feature the last few years. It always makes me think it's telling a story to the taller trees, like one of Tolkien's Ents. The house and expansive grounds near it feature a number of large stars though trees somewhat limit the view.
Various Cool Christmas Stuff
These are some of the more notable perennial displays.
Higdon Florist, 201 East 32nd, often has nice window displays. The year, Santa rides a vintage bicycle.
A tree and snowman made of tires regard motorists at Anytime Tire and 24-Hour Road Service, 1131 West 4th Street. I first noticed these two years so it's a least a minor tradition.
The crescent moon shines on 2916 South Patterson Ave. These folks have decorated in the same style for at least the past few years and do so early in the season. Their lawn has equal density for Halloween. This year they were up and running by Thanksgiving.
This dinosaur "Merry Christmasaurus" display is at 1728 South Kansas, on the corner of 18th and Kansas. I don't usually go in for nylon inflatables but this is a nice grouping. Hat tip to Leslie Breedlove for emailing to tell me about this last year. It's up again in 2016.
The folks at 2709 South Massachusetts have completely covered their front lawn and roof with lights the past few years. This year they added Minions.
The Petro truck stop has a huge display of music-synced truck tail lights, just as they have the past few years.
Santa and Mrs. Claus with an entourage of stuffed animals observe you from 3431 South Brownell.
Lou and Jo Ann Molinar, 2623 South Shifferdecker, have displayed these pole trees every Christmas season for over 26 years and already have them going in 2016. Lou even put them up in the 2011 season when their house wasn't yet repaired from the EF5 tornado in May of that year. Each year since 2011 I've photographed the changes as new construction takes place.
I spoke with the couple at length in 2013. Said Lou: "After the tornado hit, I can't tell you how many people came by 'cause we were about the only people who had lights. I decided I was gonna put it up if it killed me. I got it up there and it was absolutely worth it...some little kid said 'Oh Mommy. look at that' and I about melted right there."
This house 2802 south Illinois, on the SW corner of 28th and Illinois, has featured carolers in the windows the past few years, just as it does this year.
The 46th Annual Joplin Christmas Parade will occur Tuesday, December 6, 2016. It's a rather long nighttime parade with lots of lights. The sponsor is Freeman Hospital and the parade runs north on Main Street, starting at 15th Street and ending at 3rd Street. For a sense of the Joplin parade, here's the entire 2014 version. This year the theme is "Hollywood." This year I plan to be in it with George Patrick MacGuffin the dinosaur as a tribute to the 1925 silent film, The Lost World.
Ozark Christian Collage will present It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical on December 1-4. This will not feature their "Living Christmas Tree" which I'm told was retired due to an aging frame and a smaller college choir.
The Kansas City Southern railroad's Holiday Express will not stop in Joplin this year. If you want to see it, check their schedule for nearby cities.
Possibly Still to Come
Railroad Salvage and Restoration, 1710 S Joplin Ave, has decorated a large part of the block it occupied these last few years, though it has not appeared this year as of Dec 3.
This highly visible house at 3132 South Minnesota Ave. on the NW corner of Minnesota and 32nd St. has displayed an array of roof lights and a blow mold Santa on the chimney the last few years though it has not appeared as of Dec 3. For many years there was a luminaria along Minnesota Ave. between 32nd and 26th streets but that petered out in about 2008.
The folks at 2216 South Florida told me last year their pole tree is a tradition and said it'll certainly be back in December of 2016. Here's a closer view.
Last year, F&L Truck Trailer and Equipment, 803 Orr Aven had a Christmas tree held aloft by a huge piece of equipment. The business is beside 7th Street on the south side, just across from Northpark Lane.
Visible last year to the south from hwy 171, a giant red pole tree decorated the lawn of BEI (Bill's Electric Incorporated).
Neat detail: the top of the flagpole used for the tree has a small lightning bolt.
This is a personal video (Hi8) I took on Christmas Eve of 1991 as I came home to Joplin. It shows a number of long-gone sights including the Watts Paint and Tick-O-Time neon signs on Main, the discontinued Minnesota Ave. luminaria and St John's Hospital.
Fog-breathing livestock regards the baby Jesus with glowing red eyes. The infants crib appears to rest atop a pile of wood and faux fireplace logs. The brothers at the Congregation of The Mother Co-Redemtrix have outdone themselves this year with their annual "The Way of Salvation" drive-through extravaganza, open Thursday-Sunday, 6 - 10 p.m. This Vietnamese seminary in Carthage changes up their nativity scene every year; a friend of mine nicknamed this particular style "Disco Jesus."
The attraction is free with a donation booth at the end.
Really, I could bring a sandwich and sit and stare at this display for an hour.
I love it that much. What others may see as garish, I appreciate as an expression of enthusiasm that has no desire to be subdued.
The drive roughly tells the story of the bible. This is a time exposure of the David animation. There's usually some unrelated whimsy mixed in. This year they have a hula-dancing dog.
Some features stay pretty much the same, such as this fun light-chasing tunnel.
For quite a few years now, the nearby Carthage water tower has been decorated like a hot air balloon during the Christmas season.
The Jasper County Courthouse with Christmas lights is seen on a foggy night last year from the Oak Street bridge on Route 66, also known as "Tickle Tummy Hill" and the "Whee Bridge" due to the sensations cause by driving over the bridge at significant speed.
Many of the historic homes along South Grand and South Main streets are decorated, such as the Phelps House at 1146 S Grand Avenue, seen here in 2014. It is decorated similarly this year. The house will be the base of the Carthage Christmas Homes Tour and Tea on December 3.
The house at 1327 South Main St. often features a life-size Santa, but not so far this year as of December 1. In some previous years they've even used a 1960s Polaron motorized Santa blow mold.
1406 Maple has a computerized display again this year, just as in this picture from 2015. The tree syncs with music broadcast at 106.1 FM.
This year the tree is off to the side on a trailer. I bet it'll be in the Carthage Christmas parade on December 5.
Precious Moments, 4321 S Chapel Road, just SW of the city, gets a lot of publicity but the building closes at 5:30 and the light display outside is modest for such a big deal attraction. Here's their light frame nativity.
"Mt Moriah Lights" is a computerized Christmas light display set to music that was started in 2010 as a high school gifted project. It is at the Mt Moriah Methodist Church, 15506 Nutmeg Road, ten minutes north of Carthage. The free light show is open this year Dec 2-4, 9-17 and 19-31 from
5:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information see their website.