Each year on the first Saturday of December, this small community in southwestern Jackson County closes its streets.
It’s a tradition the town without a stoplight takes pride in and gears up for every holiday season.
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The roadways were filled with people Saturday morning as Medora held its 47th annual Christmas festival under sunny skies.
Before the main event, patrons shopped at more than 30 food, craft and flea market vendors.
One of the new vendors this year was Tiemeyers Farm Market, which operates in Vallonia. Tiemeyers sold live Christmas trees and wreaths as well as holiday decor, baked goods and other small items.
Music was played in the early hours with local artists Jerry and Amber Henson and Forrest Turner all taking the stage.
The parade prince and princess from Medora Elementary School were crowned at noon with Jeffrey Atkins, 8, and Ava Brewer, 4, receiving the crowns. Last year’s winners were Gracie Daulton and Andrew Parish.
Brewer said she asked for a Barbie house for Christmas and that her favorite part of the holiday is gift giving.
Atkins asked for a remote-control car under his tree and said he is excited for Dec. 25.
“I like the presents, decorations and Santa,” Atkins said. “I’m excited to ride on a float. I have never rode on one before.”
This year’s parade down Perry Street featured 50 different entries, which included eight floats.
Paula Helton was the grand marshal for the parade.
“This is a pretty good year,” festival Vice President Nick Walden said. “This is a little above average, I would say. It usually pans out between 45 and 50. I think interest is growing, and a lot of people are seeing that it’s reviving and are trying to become a part of it.”
Trophies, ribbons and prizes were awarded to first-, second- and third-place finishes. This year’s parade judges were Lori Shackleford and Rita Hinners, both administrative assistants at the Jackson County Auditor’s Office, and Sean Hildreth, executive director of Southern Indiana Center for the Arts.
Santa also stopped by the Medora Library to visit with children after the parade.
The day ended with the Christmas Ball, which featured Bloomington-based band Hot Rod Heart, at the Carr Township Conservation Club just west of town.
The festival started Friday night with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and book reading at the library, a live Nativity scene and a holiday lights contest.
Walden said Friday night also was a success.
“There were lots of kids for the reading of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ with the Christmas angel,” Walden said. “Medora Christian Church and Medora Pentecostal Church both had their choirs come and sing. We had a nice local turnout of around 60 or 70 people.”
The first Medora Christmas Parade was held on Dec. 16, 1972. The 45-minute parade featured eight floats entered by the four classes at Medora High School. The sophomore class swept top honors, winning both the floating trophy given to the best school entry and first place in the open class, which paid $25.
“It’s a Medora tradition,” Walden said. “It’s the 47th year of it, and it’s great to keep it going. You put a lot of smiles on faces.”