Mark your calendars for Tuesday, Dec. 6 as an eagerly awaited holiday event returns to downtown Greenville.
The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce (GACOC) has slated its annual Christmas Parade to kick off downtown at 6:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Santa’s Workshop.”
GACOC director, Tracy Salter, said this year’s theme was selected from one of the many ideas submitted over the last year to the Chamber.
“Santa’s workshop looks like a giant toy factory. So just get creative with your type of business or industry to create your custom workshop around that – if you’re in healthcare, create a workshop based around healthcare and that industry,” said Salter.
There will also be other activities before the parade in Confederate Park, including the official lighting of the City’s Christmas tree and the opportunity to meet jolly old Saint Nick himself and get photos taken with him.
“Park festivities begin at 5 p.m. with pictures with Santa, Christmas Music and Concessions, followed by the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and the parade at 6:30 p.m.”
Greenville Lions Club will host the concession tent this year and Salter says they have tasty treats slated for the menu.
“Lions Club has hosted the concession tent for three years now and it’s always a big hit during the festivities and parade. This year, they plan to have hot dogs, hot chocolate, coffee, funnel cakes, and more,” said Salter.
Salter added that the police department will begin shutting down the main parade route and lineup areas at 4:45 p.m. sharp.
“The parade lineup begins at 5 p.m. and due to the large amount of entries and to ensure everyone’s safety during lineup, Commerce Street (from the Train Depot to the Courthouse) will be closed off to traffic at 4:45 p.m. and reopen once the parade and park festivities ends.”
“The parade is an annual tradition and really brings fun and fellowship to downtown Greenville. It’s the second Tuesday in December – everyone has gotten back in the swing of things after the Thanksgiving holiday, and it’s an opportunity to enjoy the official lighting of the tree in the park, visit with Santa, view the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations and enjoy the beautiful parade lineup,” said Salter.
Applications for parade entries are available on the Chamber’s website and Salter encourages everyone to go ahead and get those forms in soon.
The deadline for parade applications is Wednesday, Nov. 30, and Salter says there will be no exceptions on the entry deadline.
“It takes numerous people to organize and put on a parade, and the sooner we get in the entry applications, the easier it is for us to streamline the process. So—don’t wait until the last minute,” Salter stressed. ”
“While we want every single business and organization to participate, we start advertising the details about six weeks in advance and make every opportunity available for entry. However, to make the ebb and flow of such a large project and event work, a deadline is imperative to the overall success of the event.”
Since it is a nighttime parade, all those entering are reminded that not only music, but also lights should be on all floats and vehicles entered.
There will be first and second place prizes for the best-decorated float and vehicle categories.
Salter also stresses the importance of being creative in designing a float that they feel best represents the theme.
“This year’s theme is super fun,” Salter said. “We want to see lots of lights and colorful displays of decorations that highlight our business and community.”
“We also want everyone to remember that safety is paramount, and we require walkers on either side of the floats and vehicles entered. Having walkers in place is the only way you are allowed to throw candy from your parade entry as well, and there is no additional fee for these walkers,” said Salter.
“We also want to remind everyone planning to drive trucks, tractors, off-road vehicles or cars, must be at least 18 with a valid driver’s license.”
Salter said that the rules and regulations have been tweaked a bit to include specifics on loud noise, including engines, horns, music, and such, and she encourages each entry to pay close attention to the parade entry rules.
All vehicles parked downtown will be asked to move off Commerce St. by 4:45 p.m., to allow parade lineup and activities in the park to begin.
And there’s one more important reminder that Salter wants to stress.
“There is only one Santa, no exceptions, and he will be in the park before the parade and then on the big red fire truck at the end of the parade,” said Salter.
“We want to make sure everyone is mindful of the “Santa” rule – let’s not have any pretend Santa’s on or around any of the float entries.”
For more details on the upcoming parade or to request an application, contact the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce by phone at 382-3251 or visit them online at www.greenvillealchamber.com.