The pandemic spawned many “in-your-car” drive-by holiday light displays. And while many of these “drive-by” displays still happen each season, there’s one that will drive by you instead! Check out this unusual and fun event, in its second year.

Photo Courtesy of Lebanon Tourism

Peg Cameron Gill

Lebanon’s lighting the way for a fun holiday season with its event “Light Up Lebanon – Lighted UTV Parade.” The parade will take place in downtown Lebanon during the town’s “Christmas on Commercial” celebration on Friday, Dec. 8 from 5–9 PM. 

During “Christmas on Commercial,” Commercial Street will be closed to traffic, businesses will stay open, and families can come downtown and enjoy the festivities, plus see a super cool lighted UTV parade which will hit town about 7 PM. 

Come meander through Lebanon’s festively adorned streets, enjoy seasonal treats, perfect photo opps, crafts suitable for kids of all ages, and the chance to convey your Christmas list of heart’s desires in letters to the North Pole. Of course, the highlight of the evening — a special visitor from the North Pole, the one and only Santa Claus — will be making a much-anticipated appearance!

According to Rebecca E. Rupard, Lebanon’s Tourism Director, “Last year was the first year for the parade during this event, and we hosted 75 entries. It was incredible,” she says. ”Full disclosure, I ‘borrowed’ this event (with permission) from my hometown, Pleasant Hill, MO. They have had this event for a few years now, and once I attended to see it in person, I was hooked.” Rupard adds, “Fortunately, they were kind enough to share with me the information on making this a success, and it worked. We’re preparing to double our numbers based on the excitement we’ve heard about ALL year long, and we’re adding a ‘Best in Show’ contest for businesses and individuals.”

Photo Courtesy of Lebanon Tourism

Don’t miss your chance to revel in the magic of the season and create wonderful memories at “Christmas on Commercial.” 

The origin of Commercial Street, which is the center of Lebanon where “Christmas on Commercial” will take place, is rooted in the railroad.

When the railroad came to Lebanon in 1868 it changed the town forever. The Frisco Railroad built the station a mile away from the main part of town — because the city fathers had refused to donate land to them. With the location of the Frisco depot being south of “Old Town” the focus of the community permanently changed. 

Businesses naturally moved alongside the rails, and the “new” town was born. The tracks run parallel to Commercial Street, which is still the center of Lebanon today. The railroad served as the first big boost to Lebanon’s economy and guaranteed its growth by attracting commerce and industry to the formerly rural area.

While Lebanon as a city “officially” dates back to 1877, the utility task vehicle (UTV) came into being about 107 years later. A UTV is a larger type of ATV designed to haul heavier loads and allow additional passengers. ATVs are primarily used for recreation, whereas UTVs are often used for professional tasks such as farming or landscaping.

Although classification can get a little muddy, some people credit the Lockley Wrangler, introduced in 1970, as being the world’s first side-by-side.

Just as Polaris created the first snowmobile in the 1950s and launched the first American-made ATV with the Scrambler ATC, the Minnesota-based company created the UTV that we know and love today. The company boasts the RZR XP, the best-selling sport side-by-side of all time.

Known for having magnetic water, Lebanon can claim some other interesting oddities. Read about one here.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.