If the holidays seem to be passing like a too-fast parade, maybe the antidote is an actual parade.
After all, what better way is there to savor the season than standing in the brisk December air with a few hundred of your neighbors, clutching a mug of warm cider and watching it all ride by?
Eureka Springs, Green Forest, and Berryville will each host their own wintery processionals in the next week, and we have the details on each.
So, snatch those stockings from the mantle, slip them onto your toes, and trudge to your nearest parade route. But don't forget the cider -- 'cause baby, it's (sort of) cold outside.
Eureka Springs will inaugurate the weekend, with the 2012 Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade, slated to begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30.
The grand marshall who will lead this year's parade is a familiar face: television, screen, and stage star Barry Williams -- best known for his teen idol role of Greg Brady in the hit television sit-com "The Brady Bunch."
Mike Bishop, president and CEO of the chamber, said, "Mr. Williams was a great fit for this year's parade theme, A Silver Screen Christmas. We are excited to have such a celebrated entertainer join us."
The annual extrav-aganza, sponsored by Arvest Bank, is one of the most popular lighted nighttime parades in the Mid-West. All area bands, churches, businesses, civic organizations and individuals are invited to participate.
Cash prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in four categories -- including commercial, non-profit, bands, and other. The deadline to register for the parade is Nov. 23. There is no entry fee.
For more information or to register, call 479-253-8737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration forms are available at the Chamber Visitor Center located in the Village at Pine Mountain.
The Green Forest Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Green Forest Christmas Parade on Dec. 1, starting at 10 a.m. This year's theme is "Christmas Dreams on the Polar Express."
The parade will start on Phillips Street in front of Green Forest High School and continue through the Town Square. The parade will turn left onto Highway 62, continue west and turn left on South Springfield, before looping back to the school.
The parade might warm your heart, but it will probably take more than Christmas cheer to defrost your fingers after a morning spent huddled in the brisk December air. What could be better for that than a steaming, spicy bowl of chili?
You could ask Santa for one. However, if you don't want to wait until Christmas morning, just follow the Man in Red to the Green Forest Fire Department's first annual chili supper fundraiser, to be held at the Green Forest Intermediate School Cafeteria.
Santa will be riding one of the department's fire engines in the parade. Immediately after the event, Santa, the firefighters, and whoever else cares to join will head to the cafeteria.
Firefighters are hoping the fundraiser will help their Christmas wish come true. This year, they have asked Santa for a new fire engine.
Assistant Fire Chief Ed Phillips said the three trucks currently owned by the department were all between 20 and 40 years old.
In return for a donation -- "the more the merrier," Phillips said -- visitors will gain access to a smorgasbord of chili, Frito pies, chili dogs, loaded baked potatoes, and beverages.
The merriment will also continue with a Christmas craft fair and bake sale, to be held in the old high school gym.
There be a cash give away in the gym around 2:30 p.m. -- in which one parade goer will receive $100 -- and Santa Claus will be on hand to have his picture taken with the kids.
Raffle tickets for the drawing can be purchased at the Green Forest Library, Evans Feed Store, First National Bank in Green Forest or Powell's One Stop. The winner must be on site at the time of the drawing to collect their winnings.
Those not content to be passive observers can register to be a part of the parade before Dec. 1 at Country Craft Farm located at 202 West Main St. in Green Forest.
Participants can also register on the morning of the parade in the lobby of the old high school gym. Every parade participant will need to drop by the gym lobby before the parade to retrieve their entry number so their float or entry can be judged.
Floats will start lining up at 9 a.m. around the high school on Phillips Street, 8th Street or 9th Street. Parade volunteers will be on hand to offer assistance.
For more information, contact Chamber President Ross Darby, at 501-554-5846.
If one night and morning of Christmas pageantry just isn't enough, head west from Green Forest to the Berryville Christmas Parade, which will commence at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 1.
The parade will begin on Highway 62 at Carl Street, proceeding through the square and ending in front of Price Cutter.
The Painter's Palette, on the Square, will be hosting photographs with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Michael Manley, of Michaels Photography, will be on hand to capture the moment.
Concessions will be offered by Freakin' Eurekan Kettle Corn Company and Cedar Ridge Country Cupboard -- warm cinnamon rolls and hot beverages.
The deadline to enter the parade is Nov. 28. Entry forms are available at the Berryville Community Center or online at http://www.berryville.com/bcc.html.