ELIZABETHTOWN — Santa Claus is coming to town, or so we hear.
Sunday will mark the seventh annual Elizabethtown Christmas parade, and organizers are planning for a big day for the town, including sightings of St. Nick himself.
“We are so excited about our Christmas parade this year,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Sylvia Campbell. “It brings folks to town and officially kicks off our holiday season for our merchants. Of course, our kids are always excited to see Santa, and that gets us all in the holiday shopping spirit.”
Guests may be able to sneak peeks of Santa early, as parade lineup begins. Participants — including the jolly ol’ elf himself — will queu up at 1 p.m. at the Elizabethtown Municipal Building. Entrants are asked to enter the parade lineup from King Street. Large units are asked to arrive early, and walking units are requested to arrive no later than 2 p.m. The procession will begin promptly at 3 p.m.
One big change for this year’s parade involves sweet treats. For the first time since the Town Council approved the change, parade participants will not be allowed to throw candy along the parade route. The Council adopted the ordinance in May, after repeatedly seeing bystanders running in the street to collect goodies.
“Even adults will run right up to vehicles, and children run right up under there, and the person driving doesn’t even see them,” said Planning Technician Billie Hall, who oversaw the rewriting of parade guidelines. “Everything that we’re changing is for the purpose of providing greater safety for the public.”
Sans candy, participants will make their way down the parade route, waving and greeting bystanders. Entrants will include horses and buggies, elected officials in cars, dance troupes and twirlers, marching bands and drill teams, motorcycle groups, beauty queens, civic groups and churches, businesses, clowns and other entertainers, fire trucks and police cars, and both modern and classic cars and trucks. Last year, the parade saw approximately 50 entries.
Bringing up the rear will be the one the kids will be coming to see — Piere Noel.
The parade will follow its usual route. From the Municipal Building, participants will head east on Broad Street, turn right and head south on Poplar Street, and conclude at the Fresh Foods parking lot. From start to finish, the parade should last approximately 45 minutes.
The weather appears to be cooperative, at least so far. As of press time, the afternoon high Sunday is expected to be 58 degrees under a bright, sunny sky. There is little chance — 5 percent — of precipitation for the day.
Both during and after the parade, some Elizabethtown merchants will be open for guests wanting to pick up that perfect Christmas gift while they’re in the holiday mood.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.