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Make it Maryville, a partnership of local businesses founded in 2017, has launched its December series of events called “A Very Maryville Christmas.” 

It includes free 1:30 matinees of Christmas movies every Sunday at The Hangar, a Christmas light show beginning on Wednesday Dec. 1, and a parade with downtown decorations. Along with the dozens of homes decorated for the city’s Tour of Lights event, downtown Maryville will be lit up and decorated as well to bring in the holiday spirit.

Make it Maryville didn’t plan this alone; it has partnered with the city of Maryville, Nodaway Economic Development, the Maryville Chamber of Commerce and downtown businesses.

Make it Maryville lead organizer Holly Cronk said the idea for A Very Maryville Christmas started with last year’s Tour of Lights, where homeowners signed up to join a Christmas light competition. The tour was a holiday festivity for Maryville residents to enjoy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had over 100 homes signed up for this,” Cronk said. “And that’s not even counting all the homes that weren’t signed up but also decorated.”

Despite the success of last year’s event, Cronk noticed a stark contrast between the vibrant displays of lights in the neighborhoods and the bleakness of downtown Maryville, which was mostly undecorated.

“Everybody was lit up around town, but downtown was just like a black hole,” Cronk said. “There wasn’t anything there.”

Over several Make it Maryville meetings, Cronk sought to find a solution. Make it Maryville decided it would need more people to decorate downtown. After working with the Maryville Chamber of Commerce, downtown businesses and county commissioners, Make it Maryville was able to create the biggest Christmas celebration that the town has ever seen.

“The city really stepped up; they have been instrumental,” she said. “They have donated their workers and their equipment to getting the lights put up on the buildings. It’s been a huge and awesome collaboration.”

Events this month vary by location, as numerous businesses and organizations are pitching in and working together.  Make it Maryville has been helping with advertising and promoting the events, with Cronk herself promoting the free Sunday matinees at The Hangar. 

The Nodaway County Economic Development Corporation and the Maryville Chamber of Commerce are both working on Uniquely Nodaway, a Nodaway County collection of local businesses participating in promoting shopping local. 

Downtown Maryville has been working with the city to get it decorated for the holiday season. County commissioners approved putting a wreath on the courthouse, Meyer Auto Center has a santa shop.

“Not one organization has been more important than the other,” Cronk said. “It was a big group effort of our volunteers, community volunteers and all our organizations.”

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