The temperatures may not scream "Holidays!", the events sure do.

Monday is the annual Parade of Lights through Dodge City, along with the annual Chili Cook-Off and Santa Claus at the Boot Hill Museum and, for the first time, a virtual sleigh ride with Santa.

On Monday, the Chili Cook-Off begins the activities, with judging slated for 4:30 p.m. Virtual Reality Sleigh Ride starts at 5 p.m. in front of Boot Hill Museum.

Free samples of chili, hot chocolate and cobbler and a chance to visit Santa Claus in the Santa House at the museum kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and Dodge City Mayor Rick Sowers will light the tree next to the Visitors Center at 5:50 p.m. At 6 p.m., the parade gets underway.

The parade will begin at the Ford County Fairgrounds, go through Wright Park before turning north on 2nd Street to Wyatt Earp. The route turns west on Wyatt Earp until 5th Street, where the parade will go north before making a quick right to travel east on Front Street. The route will go north on 3rd Street and continue to Spruce Street, where it ends.

At press time, temperatures haven’t been getting folks into the Christmas spirit. Friday’s high was in the upper 70s for most of southwest Kansas. Today is projected as the coldest day of the next several days with a high in the low 60s. Sunday’s forecast calls or a high of 71 and Monday shows a high of 76 for the parade and holiday events. There is little to no chance of rain today through Monday.

The 3-minute Virtual Reality Santa Sleigh Ride consists of moving seats in a trailer. Patrons wear virtual reality headgear and the seat moves during the 3-minute presentation.

Promotional material states the ride will fly through the sky and will feature several holiday-decorated communities. The Virtual Reality Santa Sleigh Ride will be available from 5 to 8 p.m. in front of Boot Hill Museum.

Got a hankering to light up the holiday season? Would that desire increase if there was a contest to be won?

The inaugural Holiday Lights Contest is underway in Dodge City, the idea of Colleen Hastings of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

"I remember as a kid driving around and seeing all the light displays in neighborhoods," Hastings said. "I wanted that feeling again, the excitement of the holiday and the joy of being able to share it with neighbors."

To enter the contest, fill out a form and drop it off at the Dodge City Daily Globe office or at the Visitors Center.

Judging for the contest will take place on, or just before, Dec. 17. A group of volunteers will travel throughout Dodge City to judge the lights.

"The winners receive $200 and second place gets $100," Hastings said. "We’ve seen a few more homes lit up the last few years, so now we want to help Dodge City really get into the holiday spirit by creating a contest we hope will grow every year."


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