City starts early to bring holiday parade back

SUN-GAZETTE File Photo The Santa Claus balloon makes his way down Fourth Street during 1949’s downtown holiday parade.

Jessie Novinger, city recreation director, said is going to redouble its efforts to schedule a Christmas parade after residents’ disappointment in its cancellation in 2018.

Novinger and the city recreation commission Monday started to develop a game plan on how a parade for the holiday can take place.

While it’s seven months away, Novinger said she will oversee collection of a list of individuals, including families with children and organizations who either want to see or can help participate and fund the parade.

The grassroots type of effort will begin with planning a parade geared entirely for children, Novinger said.

The idea is to get a list of 50 businesses and non-profits, including churches, to see if they want to build floats and march in the parade.

To make it worth the visitors’ time, the event must last at least 30 minutes.

Efforts to attract city and area fire departments and companies, and bands, will be made, she said.

There are dance groups, martial arts clubs, Boy and Girl scouts, she said, adding the list is long.

The parade is proposed for Nov. 22, with a time to be decided in coming months, she said.

Demarr Wright, a member of the commission, said while parades are fun for some people, he liked the holiday market that took place this past season at Nichols Place.

The next big recreation event for the city is the annual Christy Haberstroh Easter Egg Hunt, named after the departed former executive secretary of Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.

The egg hunt, along with an appearance by the Easter Bunny, is scheduled for April 13, with a rain date the following Saturday, April 20, Novinger said.

The egg hunt typically begins at 2 p.m. but those details were still under consideration by the department, Novinger said.

The bunny takes photographs, candy and gift cards are stuffed in the eggs that are searched for by a variety of children from different age groups. Those so young as infant to 2 are typically accompanied by adults.