By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
For the second year in a row, Precious Moments is reopening portions of its park. When the park opens for its lighting ceremony today, attendees can also have a meal at an on-site restaurant.
Paula’s All-you-can-eat Buffet and Cubby’s RV Park are now open. Terri Heckmaster, president of the Precious Moments Supporting Foundation, said that the park leased those two facilities to operator Don McLaughlin, who was also running a snack bar inside the visitors center.
In addition to the new features, Heckmaster said more choirs and groups will be involved with holiday celebrations at the park.
“We are having more local choirs perform,” Heckmaster said. “Last year we had just one.”
Tonight’s ceremony will include music from Joplin Family Worship Center, a devotional by the center’s pastor Dan Wermuth and a recital by Jeffrey Stamp.
The chapel originally canceled its Christmas light display, because installation of the lights caused damage to the chapel’s exterior. Park officials last year installed a new system that contains about 50,000 lights.
Groups that will perform at the park over the next few weeks include the MSSU Choir, College of the Ozarks Chorale, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, Springfield Chamber Chorus and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church Bell Choir.
Other groups will be added. An updated schedule can be found at preciousmomentschapel.org.
Having the restaurant open will offer more to Christmas tourists, Heckmaster said. The restaurant will be open for at least a few months, McLaughlin said, so that they can gauge business.
“We leased Royal Delights, right next door, and they offered this larger restaurant to us,” McLaughlin said. “We decided to try it for a couple of months, and see how things go.”
The restaurant will offer breakfast entrees in the morning and home-style American classics during lunch and dinner hours. The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.