The calendar may say Thanksgiving, but Santa and Mrs. Claus will roll into town this Friday for the Holiday Parade of Lights.
Sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc., the parade will feature 52 entries, including the Washington and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School marching bands.
The parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the corner of Main and Cedar streets. It will travel south on Cedar Street; east on Fifth Street; north on Elm Street; east on Second Street; north on Jefferson Street; and west on Main Street, ending near the Farmers’ Market. This is the same route as in past years.
“It’s really shaping up to be another great parade with lots of lighted floats and many special guests, such as Louie the Lightning Bug, Hardee’s Big Star and the Shriners’ Yomo Mini Patrol,” said Aimee Frey, event coordinator.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will serve as grand marshals, and will help Mayor Sandy Lucy turn the lights on the large Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Elm streets.
The Mayor’s Tree Lighting, now in its third year, will take place immediately after the parade. The tree was set up last week in the same spot as the fountain. The tree has been decorated, but the lights will not go on until after the parade.
Local elementary students will sing four Christmas carols just prior to the lighting. All children are invited to participate and should meet on the front steps at St. Francis Borgia Church.
After the lighting, Santa will greet children under the Farmers’ Market.
Christmas murals decorated by local schools and churches will be on display at the market and unoccupied storefronts in downtown will be decorated as well.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will ride in a 1912 Maxwell, provided by the Washington Historical Society. The antique car will be on a trailer.
Frey said the parade has several new participants this year, including businesses and churches.
There will be two judging categories for the parade: nonprofit and business/individual.
The top winners in the nonprofit division will receive a trophy and the first-place entry will receive $100.
Trophies will be presented to the top three winners in the business/individual division. Entries can choose not to be judged.
“The weather forecast for Friday looks good, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that holds,” Frey said. “We invite everyone to come down and help kick off the Christmas season.”
The corporate sponsor of the parade this year is the Bank of Franklin County.