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Parade to celebrate ‘Night before Christmas’ Dec. 7

The holiday decorations are going up all over Greenville, and that means the Camellia City is getting ready for another festive downtown parade.

The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7. This year’s theme revolves around Clement C. Moore’s beloved poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known to many as “T’was the Night Before Christmas.” And the “right jolly old elf” himself will be on hand to meet and greet local youngsters that evening.

“We will have Santa stop by Confederate Park at 5:30 p.m. to visit with the children and for parents to take photos, followed by the annual Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m,” Stephanie Steadham, GACoC administrative assistant, said.

The parade is slated to start in front of the Chamber Depot, and proceed to the Butler County Courthouse, pausing in front of the judges at their review stand in front of Greenville City Hall. All floats, vehicles and walkers need to arrive by 5 p.m. for the line up. All float drivers must be at least 18 to operate their entries.

“We are expecting the workers to start blocking off the street downtown no later than 5:30 p.m., so it’s important everyone gets there early to be in their proper place before the parade starts,” Steadham says.

A little extra effort can make a difference in whether or not an entry earns one of the coveted thumbs up from the judges.

“As always, we want to see a good display of our theme in the entries, and creative use of lighting and music is a big plus. It’s a night time parade, so illumination makes a huge difference,” Steadham stressed.

Wrapped candy and soft items such as stuffed animals are allowed to be thrown to the crowd, but outriders also need to accompany any floats or vehicles participating in tossing items to the crowd to ensure the safety of parade goers. Participants are also reminded to monitor the amounts they are tossing out along the way so the goodies will last the length of the parade.

The costs for entries are as follows: float entries for members are $25 and $40 for non-members; vehicle entries are $20 for members and $35 for non-members (with a second vehicle per participant costing $10) and walkers are $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Participants are reminded that there is one and only one Santa in this parade, and he rides the big red fire truck at the end of the parade (elves and reindeer are always welcome).

The deadline for signing up for the Dec. 7 parade is Friday, December 1 at 5 p.m.

Those interested in participating in the parade can pick up a copy of the entry form at the depot, or they can find forms online at the chamber’s website www.greenvillealchamber.com, where they should click on “Christmas parade.”

And the chamber hopes to actually livestream this year’s event. But they need the community’s help to make it happen, said Steadham.

“We have a video on YouTube created for the parade by two of our Camellia Girls, Tucker Whiddon and Mary Katherine Salter, and they did an awesome job. If we can get over 100 ‘likes’ for that video, we will be able to livestream the parade . . . we’ve had lots of views, but now we need to get those thumbs up, too!”

Type in “Holiday greetings from Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce” at YT to view the new video. You can also view it by going to the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce page on FB.

For additional information about the Christmas parade, contact the GACoC at 382-3251.