Hometown Christmas event makes changes

Theo Tate

Olivia Bufka pays a visit with Santa Claus in last year’s Hometown Christmas in Montgomery City. Santa Claus will be in attendance in this year’s Hometown Christmas on Dec. 12 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m.  SUBMITTED PHOTO

Brian Bufka was determined not to let the ongoing coronavirus pandemic ruin his plans of bringing back Hometown Christmas for another year.

“I want everybody to be happy,” the event coordinator said. “I just want to see some semblance of normalcy.”

This year’s Hometown Christmas will be held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, where there will be a drive-thru light display. The event, sponsored by the Montgomery City Area Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Dec. 11-13 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

“I’m excited for this year,” Bufka said. “It’s going to be a bigger year than it has been in the past.”

Also, Santa Claus will be in attendance on Dec. 12 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at the Merchants Building. Due to social distancing, children are not allowed to sit on Santa’s lap this year.

“We’re going to put Santa Claus on the stage,” Bufka said. “We’re going to build a stage over there so the kids can’t get up to him. Santa Claus will be sitting on stage. We’re going to get some chairs and put them in front of the stage so four or five kids can sit there. Santa Claus is going to read them a story. He’s got four or five stories that he’s going to tell for about two or three minutes and he will tell about Christmas traditions.”

Bufka decided to change locations of Hometown Christmas during a meeting with other Chamber members in August. Last year, the event was held at the intersection of Second Street and Highway 19 in Montgomery City.

“This year is different because of COVID-19,” said Bufka, who will be in his third year as event coordinator. “Normally we have it at the four-way (stop). There’s a little park with the fountain. Nobody notices it, but there’s a little building in the back corner. Santa Claus is normally there. We block off the road in front of the park, we put up a tent and we do everything right there. Because of COVID-19, we can’t do quite as much. We can’t have everybody packed in there like we normally would.”

Bufka’s yearly visits to the Way of Lights at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Ill., gave him the idea of having a drive-thru light display in this year’s Hometown Christmas.

“We would go over there every year and we just drive through it,” Bufka said. “We go into the gift shop and walk around wreaths and Christmas trees and stuff that they auction off, so we would go in there. They normally have carolers and things of that nature, so we would go in and listen to the carolers for a little bit.”

The light display will start at the back gate behind Reach Church into the Fairgrounds and end at the Merchants Building.

“The fairgrounds have blessed us with having the grounds to work with,” said Bufka, who is also the owner of First Place Printing in Montgomery City. “We still have to pay for the electric and everything like that. We also have to pay for the toys and stuff. That’s where we’ll be needing a little bit of money here and there. Whatever money we can make that’s left over from paying the bills, we’re going to give it to Montgomery County Cares, which do a lot of great things.”

There will be a toy giveaway at the Merchants Building. Last year, the Chamber of Commerce bought $1,500 worth of toys.

“We have a business that makes toys,” Bufka said. “They make stuffed animals. So they sent me four boxes of stuffed animals. Another organization said they’re going to buy $2,000 worth of toys and bring them to us. The Chamber will buy toys to hand out.”

Also, visitors can donate decorated wreaths and Christmas trees at the Hometown Christmas event. There will be a contest for people to vote for their favorite wreath and tree by placing coins in donation cans for each item. Wreaths will be sold at a blind silent auction. All funds will be donated to Montgomery County Cares.


Montgomery Standard

115 W. Third St.
PO Box 190
Montgomery City, MO 63361


Email Us


Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Please Login for Premium Content