Christmas parade plans under way

Published 11:11 pm Friday, November 5, 2010

Although Christmas may be a few weeks away, planning for the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas parade has already begun.

The event is set for 2 p.m. Dec. 11 with a rain date already in place for Dec. 18 if needed.

Michele Hart, executive assistant for the Chamber, said some registrations for floats for the annual parade have begun to come into the office.

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“We have already gotten a few registration forms for organizations planning to have a float in this year’s parade,” Hart said. “We want this parade to be the best and biggest for our area.”

Deadline to register for the parade is Nov. 19, however Hart said late registrations will be accepted.

“We would like to get as many registrations in by deadline as possible,” Hart said. “We will take late registrations but getting as many in by the deadline makes planning and lineup much easier for us. We want to have as many participants as possible, but early registration would help the event go more smoothly.”

Hart said there are few rules when entering a float or organization into the parade event. “We want this to be as enjoyable for everyone as possible and this year we’re not following a specific theme,” Hart said. “As long as the theme pertains to Christmas, the decorations will be allowed.”

Other criteria for the parade includes allowing only one vehicle with the float, candy must be thrown away from floats and onto sidewalks for safety reason; a float can be towed or put on a flat-bed truck; a release form must be signed before an entry is allowed in the parade; each entry must register before being entered.

Participants should also keep in mind that the Chamber will be the only organization allowed to have Santa in the parade, Hart said.

Judging will be conducted prior to the 2 p.m. start of the parade with specific attention to pre-set criteria, Hart said.

“Our judges will be looking at a variety of factors when judging the floats for winners this year,” Hart said. “They will be paying special attention to the difficulty factor of getting the float prepared as well as imagination and uniqueness. Other categories will include attention to detail, recognition of Christmas theme, costuming and overall appearance of the entry.”

Along with traditional judging categories, Hart said an entry can earn bonus points that could put them in the running for a winning float.

“Bonus points for entries can be earned in several ways,” Hart said. “Use of electricity, whether it’s batteries or generator, will earn bonus points. Other bonus points can be earned by using handmade decorations, handmade costumes or moving parts on the float.”

Hart said creativity will be the key to presenting an entertaining or award-winning float.

Cash prizes will be awarded to entries taking the top four spots after judging is complete, Hart said.

“We will be presenting a cash prize to the top four entries in this year’s parade,” Hart said. “First place will receive $300, with second place receiving $200, third place and fourth place $100 each.”

Hart said anyone interested in having an entry in the parade is invited to participate.

“There is no charge to register an entry,” Hart said. “Anyone who wants to participate is encouraged to join us. Churches, civic groups, businesses and individuals can enter the parade. No animals will be allowed in the parade, but any other entry including golf carts, antique cars, ATVs, motorcycles or go-carts will be allowed.”

Hart said she is hoping for a large parade with plenty of floats, bands and other entries into the event to make it a good parade.

“The Brewton/East Brewton Christmas Parade can only be a success if the community takes part,” Hart said. “Each year several thousand people line the streets to enjoy the parade. I hope everyone can work together to make this the best parade our community has ever had while providing a safe, family-oriented experience.”

To find out more about qualifications, requirements and entry applications for the parade, contact the Chamber at 867-3224.