Students pose for a photo with Buster the School Bus the educational robot that is used to teach school transportation safety, during the Christmas Parade last Saturday in Mountain City. JCS borrowed Buster, who made his first appearance in Johnson County to the crowd lining the streets watching the parade. He was driving along wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas.” Buster has yellow caution lights, red stop lights with a stop arm and even speaks to help students learn how to stay safe when loading and unloading on our school busses. Bus safety is extremely important and JCS is looking forward to working with Buster to effectively teach its students. Submitted photo

By Bethany Anderson

Festivities kicked off on a cold and wet weekend in Mountain City, but locals tried not to let it interfere with their beloved Community Christmas traditions.
Attendance may have been a little lower than years past when the weather had cooperated, however, the holiday spirit was as cheery and bright as ever.
Despite the weather, Friday night’s Second Annual Christmas on Main had a quite a few participating vendors and attendees. The event is thanks in big part to Megan McEwen and the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.
“I had the idea for the festival, and the Chamber was very supportive. We wanted to do something special for the community during the holidays and give the Christmas season a good kick start,” said Megan McEwen.
There were food vendors, crafts, baked goods, clothing, holiday decorations, and many local organizations were there as well. The City’s Christmas tree was lit much to the delight of everyone in attendance, especially the children.
Santa’s mailbox is “open for business” and was noticed by many of the little ones in attendance. Families with umbrellas in hand enjoyed the hot cocoa and twinkling lights while shopping for unique holiday goodies and gifts.
Saturday morning the Johnson County Farmers Market had a Christmas themed market complete with Santa Claus. It may have still been rainy and cold outside, but it was warm and inviting inside the lower level of the Welcome Center.
Many of the vendors had Christmas themed crafts and goodies for sale. Santa made a big entrance and made sure to meet and greet with all who were there before starting photos with the kids. Being a dog-friendly market, some pups in attendance also had a chance to get their pictures taken with the Santa.
The children all enjoyed coloring while eating Christmas cookies and making new friends, and the parents found some great deals and unique gifts as well as beautiful holiday decorations for their homes.
The Christmas market is a new one for Mountain City but enjoyed the support of the board of directors giving the event-idea the green light during its November meeting. Given the event’s success, it is sure to be repeated next year.
“We weren’t quite sure what to expect out of it since this was our first attempt, said Bethany Anderson. “I am overall pretty pleased with it though. The vendors did well, and we were able to introduce the Farmers Market to families who may not usually shop here.”
The Annual Christmas Parade went on despite the continued cold rain Saturday evening. Attendance was noticeably lower than in years past but still looked as though quite a bit of the town showed up to see all the floats and fire trucks and such. The children all enjoyed grabbing candy by the bag full as always, with big smiles to match. Normally darkened downtown was quite a site with all the beautiful twinkling lights and friends and neighbors out together to enjoy this annual tradition.
Christmas is a time for coming together as a community, and the holiday spirit seems to be alive and well in Mountain City come rain or shine.