Mark your calendars for Tuesday, Dec. 5 as an eagerly awaited holiday event returns to downtown Greenville.
The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Greenville has slated its annual Christmas Parade to kick off downtown at 6:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Winter Wonderland.”
Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce director Tracy Salter said this year’s theme, ‘Winter Wonderland,’ encapsulates all the magic and wonder of Christmas in a sophisticated and classic style.
“There are all kinds of things you can do with this year’s theme; from snowmen, snow covered trees, snowflakes, and so much more.
We encourage you to put on those creative caps and let’s support the parade and the efforts through ‘Winter Wonderland’ this year,” said Salter.
There will also be other activities before the parade in Confederate Park, including the official lighting of the City of Greenville’s Christmas tree and the opportunity to meet jolly old Saint Nick himself and get photos taken with him.
Park festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and include pictures with Santa, Christmas music and concessions, followed by the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and the parade at 6:30.
Mayor Dexter McLendon remarked, “The City of Greenville’s Christmas Parade is an annual holiday tradition we look forward to each year. It brings together our community and I always enjoy watching the creativity of our parade participants.”
Greenville Lions Club will host the concession tent in Confederate Park this year and Salter says they have tasty treats slated for the menu.
“Lions Club has hosted the concession tent in the park for four 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.
For those looking for a warm cup of hot chocolate and tasty treats a little further down the parade route, the Camellia City Sweet Treats food truck will be set up in the Few Street Park area located next door to Johnson Furniture. “We’ve tried to add concessions along the parade route this year allowing everyone in attendance easy access.”
Salter added that the police department will begin shutting down the main parade route and lineup areas at 4:30 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 4:30 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.
Since it is a nighttime parade, all those who entered 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.
“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 4:30 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 334-382-3251 or visit them online at www.greenvillealchamber.com.