Second annual chamber event a resounding local hit

Stockton natives, area residents, local businesses and vendors descended upon the Stockton city square the evening of Saturday, Nov. 30, for the second annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony sponsored by the Stockton Area Chamber of Commerce.

In celebration of all things Christmas and local business support, event-goers were treated to numerous Christmas-themed activities covering an evening of family-friendly fun.

Members of Chapel Hills Volunteer Fire Protection District and K-9 Deputy Ruth Belcher of the Cedar County Sheriff's Office closed the city square and provided traffic support in an effort to add additional safety to the annual event.

The event kicked off with traditional Christmas music provided by the Stockton High School Band, an invocation from local pastor Michael Tunnell and the official switch-throwing conducted by Dr. Rodger and Jessica Campbell which lit the city’s Christmas tree and the corresponding lights along the Stockton square.

“We are honored and humbled to be a part of such a special celebration for our Savior and the great city of Stockton,” Jessica Campbell said of the couple’s ceremonial gesture at the beginning of the second annual celebration. “Our biggest thank you goes to Michael Tunnell for his opening prayer, to Rod Barnes for the fantastic light switch and all the great people at the Stockton Chamber of Commerce for being the light behind this glorious event.”

Adding her support to the expanding Christmas fun, mayor Mary Norell complimented SACC and the group's continued push for a locally-focused celebratory holiday event.  

“This is a great thing our chamber [of commerce] has created,” Norell said. “This brings in people from all over the area, highlights the beginning of the holiday shopping season by supporting local businesses and vendors while encouraging the city to celebrate Christmas together. It's already grown considerably in its first couple of years and is becoming a real tradition here.”

Businesses on the square opened their doors and stayed after hours to feature special deals, entertainment, small giveaways, free samples and holiday cookies, treats and beverages.

Staff from Mid-Missouri Bank dressed as the cast of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Great Southern Bank employees represented the cast of Frosty the Snowman, Simmons Bank hosted Santa as he took requests from hundreds of area youths wishing to bend the jolly man’s ear before sending letters ff to the North Pole at the Cedar County Republican office as neighboring State Farm Insurance office of Joshua Barnes-McCormick dished out homemade chili.

Businesses along the square provided numerous varieties of goodies, food and Christmas-themed fun.     

Throughout the evening’s fun and festivities, local vendors lined various corners of the square to promote numerous with all sorts of crafts, unique holiday creations and items for purchase as local civic groups served up free hot dogs, chips and beverages to all in attendance.

In looking ahead, SACC and Christmas Lighting Ceremony committee members are discussing several expansions for the event, which potentially may include a parade, local church and school choirs and a few other surprises chamber members are remaining tight-lipped about.

The next Christmas Lighting Ceremony will be held Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020.

Additional information regarding upcoming holiday events and additional chamber happenings can be obtained by stopping in at the SACC office located at 3 Public Square, Stockton, by calling 276-5213, by visiting the chamber's website at or the chamber's Facebook page.

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