With many fun and festive events, spectacular shopping, impressive holiday light parks, delectable dining, entertaining musical shows and the entire community dressed up for the season, Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks is the perfect home-away-from-home this holiday season.
The festive season at the "Best Recreational Lake" in the Nation begins on Thanksgiving but holiday visitors can get a head start on the festivities as early as Friday, Nov. 16 with the lighting of the Enchanted Village of Lights. This 27-acre drive-through light park is located at the Laurie Fairgrounds in Laurie on the westside of the Lake of the Ozarks and is open through January 1, 2019. Over 8,160 vehicles and 25,600 people visited the Lake's most popular light park last year. The Enchanted Village of Lights is open from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays and open until 10 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free to the light park, though donations are welcome as they go toward maintaining and expanding the light displays for future years.
In addition to the Enchanted Village of Lights, the Lake of the Ozarks' three other light parks open Thanksgiving weekend. Vacationers can experience the glow of holiday lights at the Osage Beach City Park, the Festival of Lights at St. Patrick's Shrine in Laurie, and the Unity Circle of Lights in the Versailles city park at the junction of Highways 5 and 52. Admission to all light parks is free but donations are welcome. For more information about the light parks, including hours of operation, visit www.FunLake.com/lake-holiday-light-parks.
Thanksgiving also marks the opening of Old Kinderhook's annual Christmas Village and The Ice, Central Missouri's only outdoor ice rink. The resort's annual Christmas Village opens on Friday, Nov. 23, featuring visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, elves, carolers, ginger bread house-making stations, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. The Christmas Village will take place every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) until Christmas Eve. The Ice at Old Kinderhook will also be open for the season for casual holiday skating sessions and a "pond hockey" league. The hours for The Ice are from 1-10 p.m. Thanksgiving weekend. The rest of the winter, The Ice is open from 5-10 p.m. on weekdays and 1-10 p.m. on weekends. For more details, visit www.OldKinderhook.com.
Another longstanding Lake of the Ozarks holiday tradition kicks off on Friday, Nov. 23. Christmas on Main Street, at the Main Street Music Hall at 5845 Osage Beach Parkway in Osage Beach, features holiday carols, gospel hymns, comedy and musical impressions. The Christmas on Main Street shows take place at 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays, from November 23 through December 22. For more details, including show dates, times and ticket prices, or to order tickets, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit www.LakeMusicHall.com.
Visitors can take in the spectacular sights of lighted lakefront homes and boat docks during the Deck the Docks holiday dinner cruises aboard The Celebration motor yacht from November 24 through December 29. The Deck the Docks cruises feature dinner and live musical entertainment and occur on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Boarding for these two-hour cruises begins at 5:30 p.m. at 5085 Davis Drive at the west end of the Grand Glaize Bridge in Osage Beach. Proceeds from these holiday dinner cruises go to benefit the Dogwood Animal Shelter. For additional details on different cruises, prices or how to book a reservation, visit www.CruiseLakeOfTheOzarks.com.
In addition to the events and attractions listed above, there are many festive events taking place throughout the month of December at the Lake of the Ozarks. For a complete list of holiday open houses, Christmas parades, musical performances, plays, pageants and more, visit the event calendar at www.FunLake.com.
Those looking to create a memorable holiday excursion to the Lake of the Ozarks can easily find the perfect accommodations for groups and families of all sizes. Accommodations at the Lake include resorts, cabins, condos, vacation homes, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and RV parks. And, with special winter and holiday lodging rates, travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates. For all the different lodging options available around the Lake of the Ozarks, click on the "Places to Stay" tab at www.FunLake.com.
The holiday season at the Lake of the Ozarks concludes with several New Year's Eve celebrations at many resorts, restaurants and bars. There will be live music, dinner and at dancing Camden on the Lake, The Inn at Grand Glaize, The Lodge of Four Seasons, Old Kinderhook and Tan-Tar-A Resort, just to name a few.
For other holiday attractions, events, as well as all dining and lodging options available at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com. Or, call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).