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The Downtown Washington Inc. Holiday Parade of Lights scheduled for Friday night, Nov. 23, has been canceled due to rain.

The parade will not be rescheduled.

Bridgette Kelch, executive director, said she consulted with Mark Skornia, Washington Emergency Management director, in making the decision. The weather service is calling for rain to fall until 8 p.m. or later Friday,

“We hate to cancel it, but with steady rain, we feel it’s the best decision,” said Kelch, who asked all participants to take a photo of their float or entry and submit it to

“We hope to make a video of all of the entries to share and we will still pick winners,” she said.

Kelch said it would be too difficult to reschedule the parade and find a date and time that would work for all of the participants.

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Santa Claus is coming to town this Friday for the annual Downtown Washington Inc. Holiday Parade of Lights.

Traditionally held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the corner of Cedar and Main streets.

All of the entries, and even many of the participants, will be decked out in lights.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will ride in their sleigh atop a special float in the parade.

Santa also will join Mayor Sandy Lucy immediately after the parade for the official tree lighting ceremony at the corner of Main and Elm streets, and he will stick around to greet families under the Farmers’ Market.

The parade, sponsored by St. Francis Borgia Grade School, will feature about 48 entries, according to Bridgette Kelch, Downtown Washington Inc. executive director.

Grand Marshal

The grand marshal will be St. Francis Borgia Regional High School football coach Dale Gildehaus, who recently was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. This was his 32nd season as head coach at Borgia.

Both the Washington High School and Borgia High School bands will march in the parade, along with special guests Fred Bird, The Missourian’s Newsbee, McGruff the Crime Dog, the Borgia High School Knight and the Shriners.

Floats, decorated vehicles and walking groups, all decked in lights, also will participate.

An optional judging contest will be held again this year for nonprofit groups and businesses/individuals.

This year’s theme is The Magic of Christmas.

Kelch said the Holiday Parade of Lights serves as the unofficial kickoff to the Christmas season and always attracts a large number of spectators.

“We are excited about hosting our 20th annual parade,” she said. “This parade was started by Bonnie Eckelkamp and is a true Washington tradition.”