Lake of the Ozarks Christmas Parade with “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” theme, gets underway Saturday, December 14 at 1 p.m.
As is the parade’s fashion of old, Santa arrives in the Bagnell Dam Historic District Lake-style in a one-of-a-kind sleigh boat built this year by the folks at Glen Cove Marina.
Joe Roeger of First Title Insurance, this year’s Grand Marshal, will lead the parade riding with his wife Terri, enjoying a different side of the community involvement for which he was chosen.
Joe describes himself as “a civic projects guy” looking forward to the happy occasion of this role. “It’s an honor to be chosen as Grand Marshal. I get involved in a lot of things. So many are important to the business community, like water quality. But some, like this parade, are for fun.”
Celebrating thirty years of living at the lake, Joe and Terri have seen change. Joe’s contribution to the community is reflected in many of the civic projects which define the changing face of the Lake of the Ozarks. Landmarks and events which have taken the area from an Old-Fashioned Lake of the Ozarks into its present became reality with the help of Joe Roeger’s involvement.
Representing the parade committee, Mike Page, owner of Dogpatch and The Leatherman stores said, “The main reason we chose Joe was the acknowledgement of his recent Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award (at the Lake Area Chamber Annual Dinner). Not to mention he’s been a community guy through the years. If there’s a project you want done, you look to Joe. It’ll get done if Joe’s involved.”
Those projects have included his on-going role with the Lake of the Ozarks Community Bridge, spearheading work for the Hollywood-style “Lake of the Ozarks” sign and working with the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and representing the Lake area on water quality issues and testing for Lake of the Ozarks. Roeger is a member of several organizations and committees. He has served on boards and foundations and has involved himself in a variety of community issues.
Foundationally, Roeger is a family man who lives by his faith and believes involvement is necessary for community
“I’m a CPA by training,” said Roeger, “I have a real estate title agency now and it allows me to participate in many organizations because I have such a good staff. I probably spend 25 to 50 percent of my time doing outside projects.”
Balancing change with tradition, Joe reminisces about days of Christmas past. One Lake tradition was the holiday season opener, a caravan with Santa from the Grand Glaize Bridge to the Bagnell Dam. The traditional beginning of the holiday lighting, businesses lit their Christmas lights as the caravan drove past from Osage Beach to Lake Ozark.
Page 2 of 2 - “We don’t have that anymore,” said Roeger, “The area has grown up. The parkway is a five-lane road now and you’re not going to be able to have a parade on it.”
When asked to reflect about what wishes he might send to the crowds as he waves, Grand Marshal Roeger’s thoughts turned toward his passion for involvement, “I’d say ‘You don’t just live in a community, you are the community. And being part of the community we ought to act like it. To the extent that you are blessed with the time and wherewithal, you ought to give back to the community you enjoy.’”
Though a catalyst for change, Joe Roeger values tradition as a balance. He describes the parade as a treasure for the people. A form of community involvement as necessary as building projects of the future is to keep the gifts from the past.
“The Lake of the Ozarks is growing up, but at the same time, I like and appreciate the city of Lake Ozark. A lot of things are different because of the growth, but we still embrace the historical Christmas Parade in Lake of the Ozarks. Lake Ozark still embraces those old traditions and I think the city of Lake Ozark would do well to maintain some of those traditions and embrace their roots in their heritage, like the parade.”
Get involved by bundling up the kids for an afternoon and evening of holiday fun. After the parade follow Santa to the White House for stockings of gifts and another of this season’s Old-Fashioned Christmas traditions, pictures with Santa Claus.
For more information about the 29th Annual “Christmas Magic” Lake Area Parade, contact Jeff VanDonsel at 573-365-2460. Visit www.lakechristmasparade.com for complete schedule of day’s events.