November 7, 2013

Lights... Action... Cameras! The Lake of the Ozarks Celebrates the Holiday Season

Lake of the Ozarks, MO - The Lake of the Ozarks shows off its natural beauty for photographers all year.  But when it gets dressed up for the holidays, it offers glitz and sparkle that demand a close-up from visiting camera bugs.  Thousands of lights reflect the joy of the season off the Lake's quiet waters, adding an aquatic theme to the holidays.



Twinkling lights are the stars of the show at drive-through holiday light parks around the Lake area. 


In Laurie, the 20th Annual Enchanted Village of Lights turns the 27-acre Laurie Fairgrounds into a winter wonderland from Nov. 16 to Jan. 1.  Some of the displays are massive - up to 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide - while others come to life through animation.  Many are being equipped with LED lights to shine brightly throughout the park.  None of them, however, shine as brightly as the eyes of the children who visit, according to Susann Huff, Laurie's events and parks coordinator.  "I just love to see the kids' eyes when they arrive," she said.  "They can't believe it.  It's hard to take it all in." 


Work has already begun on preparing the spectacle for visitors, expected to top 16,000 people again this year.  The Enchanted Village of Lights opens each day at 5 p.m., staying open later on the weekends.  There is no charge to drive through the village, but any donations will be put to use in refurbishing and preserving the displays for the future.  More information about the event can be found at CityofLaurie.com/EnchantedLights.htm.


Also, just a mile down the road in Laurie is the Lake area's most enduring drive-through Christmas lights event - St. Patrick's Festival of Lights, celebrating 30 years when the lights go on this Thanksgiving evening.  The Shrine of St. Patrick on Hwy. 5 on the north side of Laurie also is the site of the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, so this festival of lights focuses on Jesus and his mother, Mary.  The drive-through festival will be open daily from 6-9 p.m. on weekdays and 6-10 p.m. on weekends until Jan. 1. New for this year, the gift shop will be open during festival hours and volunteers will be serving hot chocolate and apple cider. The Festival of Lights is a free event, though donations are accepted.


Versailles joins the lighting celebration from Nov. 26 through Jan. 1 with its own Unity Circle of Lights, featuring 40 lighted holiday exhibits in the city park, at the junction of Highways 5 and 52 in Morgan County.  The Unity Circle of Lights, too, is offered free of charge to visitors.


Learn more about all of these drive-through lights parks at: LakeHolidayLights.com/parks.



The Lake West Chamber's 12th annual Lighted Christmas Parade on Nov. 30 brings Santa Claus to Laurie aboard "The Polar Express."  The parade begins at 6 p.m. at Central Bank and travels north on Hwy. 5 to the Laurie Mall.  There, Santa will disembark to visit with children inside the mall.  Additional details are available at LakeWestChamber.com.


Then, on Dec. 14, one of the Lake of the Ozarks' favorite Christmas traditions, the 29th Annual Lake Area Christmas Parade, will be held at 1 p.m.  This year's parade will feature the theme "An Old-Fashioned Christmas," treating spectators to homey memories of Christmases past as it travels east on Bagnell Dam Blvd. from the Route 242 intersection in Lake Ozark.  More information is available at FunLake.com.



Unique holiday gifts made by local crafters can be found at Lake of the Ozarks area holiday craft fairs and festivals.  The Camden County Museum in Linn Creek hosts the Holiday Market Place, Nov. 22-23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors will be offering a variety of Christmas crafts and gifts for sale and shoppers can also purchase lunch.  For more information, call the museum office at 573-346-7191.


On Friday, Dec. 6, the lawn of the Camden County Courthouse in Camdenton is the venue for Christmas on the Square, a free event for the whole family.  From 6-8:30 p.m. there will be classic Christmas carols performed by the Versailles High School Choir, "living statues," vendors selling their crafts and a silent auction.  There also will be treats for the children and Santa will arrive in style on a lighted sleigh.  For more information, visit the Camdenton Area Chamber of Commerce website at: CamdentonChamber.com or call the chamber at 573-378-4401.


There are many other places at the Lake of the Ozarks to find the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list.  Specialty shops dotted around the Lake area feature gifts for the home, unique clothing, jewelry and other personal items.  Antique shops are packed with treasures from the past and handmade crafts.  Missouri's largest outlet mall, Osage Beach Premium Outlets, offers longer hours and special savings for holiday shopping, including the weekends after Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For more information about shopping at the Lake, click on the "shopping" tab at FunLake.com.



Another tradition at the Lake of the Ozarks is holiday entertainment.  The Christmas on Main Street holiday music show at the Main Street Music Hall is a family favorite.  Thom and Sandy Gumm - along with their cast of talented singers and musicians - feature holiday carols, gospel hymns, musical impersonations and comedy in a show that is fun for all ages.  For more information, including show dates and times, as well as ticket prices, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit LakeMusicHall.com.


On Dec. 14, the Young Museum Players will present "CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators," a holiday play by Houston playwright Pat Cook.  When Santa Claus goes missing from a high school's annual Christmas show, a group of students find themselves becoming Christmas Scene Investigators to ensure the show goes on.  The curtain goes up on this Christmas mystery at 4:30 p.m. at the Camden County Museum in Linn Creek and light refreshments will be provided.  Admission is just $5 per family.  For more information, contact the Camden County Museum at 573-346-7191.



Visitors who want to plan a getaway trip to see the lighting displays, tackle their holiday shopping lists or just take a break to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of the season will find the Lake of the Ozarks has a gift for them.  Winter and holiday-special lodging rates are some of the lowest of the year at Lake-area resorts, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and RV parks.  In some cases, travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates and give themselves the gift of a good night's rest and relaxation.


For more information about the Lake of the Ozark's many other activities and attractions, as well as additional lodging and dining options, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit FunLake.com.


Looking Ahead ...

There is no time for the post-holiday blues at the Lake of the Ozarks because the fun keeps going as the New Year begins.  For more information about getaway packages, lodging, dining, shopping, events and attractions throughout the Lake area, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the website at FunLake.com.


JAN. 4-5, 2014


Bundle up in coats, hats and gloves and bring binoculars and cameras for this popular winter event, which features majestic wild eagles.  These awesome creatures nest in the bluffs around the Lake of the Ozarks and Eagle Days provides a great opportunity to see and appreciate their beauty.  The event includes hourly programs at Osage National Golf Resort, featuring naturalists with eagles from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis.  Interactive exhibits and crafts will be on display at Willmore Lodge each day and the Paddlewheeler Tom Sawyer will offer eagle watch cruises both days, if weather permits.  At the Country Club Hotel two programs will be given by Dickerson Park Zoo, featuring owls, hawks and vultures. The shows will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday rotating every hour.  Eagle Days activities are free, except for a $5 charge for the boat cruise.  To learn more, visit LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com


FEB. 22, 2014


Only polar bears and brave souls with warm hearts would be inclined to swim in the Lake of the Ozarks in February. This Polar Plunge event benefits local Special Olympics Missouri's year-around program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Costumed participants walk, run or crawl into the frigid winter waters of the Lake, having raised funds beforehand for the charity.  Donations help individuals and teams show their pride and give them, as one team puts it "a reason for freezin'." Donations and spectators are welcome.  The Polar Plunge is a project of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Missouri and is proudly hosted by the Osage Beach Police Department.  For more information, visit somo.org/plunge.


Note to Media:  The winter season is full of exciting travel stories at the Lake of the Ozarks!  For more information, media assistance or high-resolution photos, please call The Beenders Walker Group toll-free at 800-544-8474 or e-mail Deb, Marjorie, Jo or Kyle.


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Phone: 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) Fax: 573-348-4292 

P.O. Box 1498  Osage Beach, MO 65065

Website: www.FunLake.com  Email: Info@FunLake.com   

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Quick Links



Enchanted Village of Lights


National Shrine of Mary


Lake Holiday Light Parks


Lake West Chamber


Camdenton Chamber of Commerce


Osage Beach Premium Outlets


Shopping at the Lake


Main Street Music Hall


Eagle Days


Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge



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