By GRACE GADDY
About an hour after the sun has gone to bed Saturday, crowds will start to line the streets for the annual Christmas Parade of Lights, set to kick off from the Anderson County Courthouse at 7 p.m.
The route is a little different this year, coordinating with Frost Fest events downtown, and will run from the courthouse down Avenue A to Oak Street, turn right onto Queen Street, turn right on Crawford Street and take Crawford back to the courthouse.
City of Palestine Events Coordinator Heather Hrebec said the parade theme this year is “The Music and Magic of Christmas.”
“The best thing about the Christmas Parade is the number of floats that participate,” Hrebec said. “There's something about the lighted parade — everyone's in the spirit — and we get lots of participation.”
Exhibiting that spirit, local school bands will be marching to merry tunes, along with a host of other parade participants including area churches, businesses, organizations, city officials, animals and more. Santa Clause himself is rumored to make an appearance atop the Palestine Fire Department's Tower One truck, along with one of his favorite elves.
Following the parade, folks are invited to a lively celebration of music, activities and prizes at the courthouse, where Santa will be on hand to give the order to light the tree and square. CMB Music Productions also will be on site, bringing all sorts of musical merriment, and Palestine's Cream & Coffee will offer apple cider and hot chocolate for purchase.
“Its going to be fun,” Hrebec said. “Santa and his elf will be there, and parents can take pictures with Santa. He's going to be in front of the Christmas tree.”
Hrebec said the city had received lots of applications for the Christmas lights parade and would continue to take entries through Friday.
Prizes for first, second and third place will be awarded to the best in four categories: floats, bands, automobiles and equine. The first-place float will receive a $300 prize.
In case of the weather not performing as merrily, Hrebec said the event would be rescheduled.
“We are closely monitoring the weather, and if were are not able to do the parade this week we would schedule the parade for the following weekend.”
Parade entry forms can be picked up and returned to the Palestine Visitor Center, 825 W. Spring St., Palestine City Hall, 504 N. Queen St. and the Palestine Civic Center, 1819 W. Spring St. or faxed to 903-723-1597.
Check the Herald-Press and www.palestineherald.com to see updates on weather and holiday events.