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Chamber announces parade route change and Santa’s Outback Barn hours

Submitted by Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce

The new owners of the railway, Canadian Pacific, have turned down requests to stop train traffic during parade hours, causing all parade routes to be changed, including the annual Christmas Parade of Lights hosted by the Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce. “Although the Chamber was happy with the new route established two years ago, they have no choice but to adhere to the new policies of the railroad to ensure safety of parade participants and watchers,” Chamber Executive Director Melanie Wade stated.

The new route will begin at The Crossing on North Mena Street, continue down Mena Street before turning right onto Sherwood Avenue, another right onto Seventh Street continuing to Port Arthur where the route will turn left and end at Santa’s Outback Barn (on Port Arthur across from First Baptist Church Parking lot). Parade participants will be able to exit the route by turning right onto Ninth Street and another right on Church Avenue.

The annual Parade of Lights will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1. This year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World.” Registration forms can be found at or you can stop by the Chamber office, located at 524 Sherwood Ave., inside the Historic Train Depot. Registration deadline for the parade is Wednesday, Nov. 29. Registered participants will need to be lined up by 5 p.m. in The Crossing parking lot for pre-judging.

Judged categories for the parade include Best in Show – first, second and third place; Best Theme Representation; Best Small Business Float (Business must have 10 employees or less); Best Church Float; Chamber Favorite (Must be a Chamber member. Board member’s floats are not eligible.); Best Car/Truck; Best Motorized Non-Car (Includes motorcycles, ATVs, go-karts, etc.); and Best Horse.

Floats and groups will pay a $10 registration fee and individual motorcycles, ATVs, horses, etc. will pay a $5 fee.

Keeping with tradition, the parade will be followed by the Christmas Festival in Janssen Park, hosted by the City of Mena and the Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission. Participants will be entertained with classic Christmas music at 7 p.m. by festival favorites Lana Gail and Her Band. The combined events are the highlight of the season ending in a culmination of fireworks and the Lighting of the Park beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Following the parade, Santa will be on hand for the official opening of Santa’s Outback Barn, located in Janssen Park on the Port Arthur Avenue side, across from the Polk County Library. Come meet Santa. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures. This is a free service to the community. Santa’s Outback Barn will also be open Dec. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1–3 p.m. on Dec. 16.

For questions, contact the Chamber at 479-394-2912 or

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