The Bagnell Dam Strip Association announces “A MowTown Christmas” with lots of surprises packed between the parade’s Marine Corps League Honor Guard and its finale, Santa, in his brightly lit red, reindeer-pulled sleigh powered by Steve Lemens and helpers from Summerset Boat Lifts and Big Thunder Marina.

The Bagnell Dam Strip Association announces “A MowTown Christmas” with lots of surprises packed between the parade’s Marine Corps League Honor Guard and its finale, Santa, in his brightly lit red, reindeer-pulled sleigh powered by Steve Lemens and helpers from Summerset Boat Lifts and Big Thunder Marina. 

This 35th edition of the Lake of the Ozarks Christmas Parade features The Lawn Rangers from Amazing Arcola Illinois. This “Precision Lawn Mower Drill Team,” not taking themselves too seriously, invites locals to join their ranks. Bring a broom, decorate a push mower, working or not, don a hint of a costume and come to Lawn Ranger Boot Camp just before the parade, then march as an honorary Lawn Ranger. Meet up at parade lineup at the corner of 242 and MM (toll bridge road). A twist of the broom and a circling of the mower will make any local an expert before stepping down the Boulevard with newfound Lawn Rangers’ mower maneuvers. 

Their story begins at the 1981 Arcola, Illinois Broom Corn Festival Parade. Clayton Moore, TV's "The Lone Ranger” was the Grand Marshal. Legalities meant the star could not wear his trademark mask.

In solidarity for his missing icon, the Lawn Rangers emerged with their lawn mowers, brooms and Lone Ranger masks having so much fun, they kept marching in the annual parade.

In the years following, from Washington DC to San Diego, the Lawn Rangers have amused crowds in parades across the country, receiving national recognition when humor columnist Dave Barry joined the group.

The theme could be about Motor City music or holiday lawns, or somewhere in between. How one interprets “A MowTown Christmas” is left to creativity. That creativity will pay off for four winning entries. $100 and other honors will be awarded to first place in: Business, Civic and Youth. And a $200 award and other honors go to the entry determined as “Best Depiction of Theme”.

This year’s Grand Marshals are the Jeff Van Donsel Family who will be honoring their husband, father and grandfather and Lake Ozark business man and community participant. Jeff left the world too soon this summer with his sense of humor and many contributions. Proprietor of Rockwood Resort, and former Lake Ozark alderman, Jeff was dedicated to Lake Ozark and to his family. Until recently he served as chairman of this parade’s committee and was instrumental in instituting Hot Summer Nights. A board member of BDSA, Jeff was always the active participant in their activities and special events. He enjoyed a good laugh.

After the parade Santa will meet children on Luby’s Stage (near Tucker’s Shuckers) to hear wishes, holiday dreams and Christmas lists. Santa has gifts for each child. The Sweets Table will offer an array of holiday favorite cookies and more with hot beverages, while activities, music and dance fill the atmosphere in Luby’s Plaza.