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Waynesville 'Christmas on the Square' starts downtown shopping season

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 1, 2010) — Cities and towns throughout the United States once sponsored downtown shopping events to kick off the Christmas holiday shopping season, and Waynesville Mayor Cliff Hammock remembers attending those events in his community while growing up.

“It brings back fond memories,” said Hammock. “Of course a lot of the older businesses that I am accustomed to and used to are no longer there, but again, it is more of a spirit of unity family and community coming together to reflect upon what we are grateful for as a community and a nation.”

This year’s Christmas on the Square will be held from 5:45 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, with many businesses open late to show off what they’re selling. Even some service-oriented business such as banks and law firms will be open to provide snacks or warm drinks to visitors.

Hammock said those who haven’t visited downtown for a while will see significant changes.

“We’ve got some new businesses in the downtown area and some renovation we’re really proud of, and more to come in the months and years ahead,” Hammock said. “It’s just a great opportunity for folks to come to town, enjoy a lot of the old festivities in the downtown area, the old courthouse, the old Stagecoach Stop, and a lot of the things folks are used to such as the downtown square and the vendors.”

Examples of businesses in new renovated buildings cited by Hammock include the Drynk and Lone Oak Printing’s new offices.

“Folks are going to see some of the older buildings getting ready to be demoed and some new construction planned as well,” Hammock said.

“It’s just a great annual event where family members can get together, and hopefully thus year we’ll be able to renew old acquaintances and continue to build up on our fine traditions in the Waynesville area,” Hammock said. “I do encourage everyone to come out and get the flavor of that spirit and enjoy the holidays.”

Waynesville police will shut down Historic Route 66 through downtown, detouring traffic along alternate routes. While visitors are welcome to bring their cars downtown to attend the festivities, Police Chief Bob Carter cautioned that people passing through downtown should seek alternate routes.

“Motorists that plan on travelling east and west through Waynesville during this event are encouraged to use I-44 to the 156 exit onto Ichord Avenue as their main route,” Carter said in a prepared statement. “Slow moving traffic and delays can be expected and the police department is asking the motorists and citizens for their cooperation and patience during this event.”

Since a live nativity scene will be present, along with horse-drawn carriages and other animals, Carter said the coordinator for Christmas on the Square is asking that people not bring pets other than service animals. Roller skates and skateboarding will not be permitted during the event.

Carter also announced that the annual Waynesville Christmas Parade this Sunday, Dec. 5, will require closure of Historic Route 66 from noon to 3:30 p.m.

The closure will run west from the parade lineup at the Waynesville Middle School parking lot to the downtown area; all side streets will also be closed.

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