The holiday season—and Santa—officially arrives in Middletown this weekend with the annual Christmas Parade. As usual, the parade participants will begin marching at 10 a.m., leaving Everett Middle School, taking a left onto W. Main Street and ending after taking a left onto S. Scott Street.
"The parade will happen rain or shine," said Middletown Main Street Program Manager Tracy Skrobot. "And, I'm not sure the weather is going to cooperate. We just deal with it, though and carry on."
This year, hundreds of individuals may be "dealing with it" as the number of parade participants increased this year to more than 400 hundred people, including both local high school bands, more than 200 area Girl Scouts, antique cars, local veterans from Post 25, horses, line dancers, local and state politicians, pageant queens and, of course, Santa Claus.
"Santa is always saved for last," Skrobot said. "But, how Santa arrives is always a surprise. It could be anything."
She added that even though St. Nick probably needs to head back to the North Pole, he'll stick around until 1 p.m., for anybody that wants to get a photo with him. The photos will be taken at The Gibby Center, courtesy of Walgreens, and will be available for pickup at a local Walgreens location.
Three secret judges are also being lined up to judge the best parade participants across several categories: antique cars, floats, bands, dance groups and equine participants.
Saturday also marks the beginning of the month-long Main Street Lamp Post Decorating Contest. Thirty local businesses decorate the lamp posts that line the downtown district on Main Street, hoping to be declared the winner of bragging rights and a plaque that serves as proof that the people of Middletown found their businesses creative efforts the best.
Voting is simple. Ballot boxes will be placed at 19 participating Main Street businesses. People are allowed to visit each business once and vote for their favorite.
"You just have to fill out the slip completely with your name and email address," Skrobot explained. "The email address is only used to keep people up-to-date with Middletown Main Street events, which only goes out a couple of times a year. I don't give the email addresses out to anybody and I won't inundate people with information either. This is just the easiest way to keep locals apprised with what's going on downtown."
Downtown merchants like "first and little," Femme Fatale, Nicole J Boutique and CKuz Guitars will be open their normal business hours on Saturday and Skrobot encourages everyone to get a jumpstart on holiday shopping this weekend before the hectic spending season officially arrives next Friday. The Gibby Center's holiday shop, known as "Small Works, Perfect Gifs" will also be open this weekend with handmade crafts created by local artisans and artists.
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Pick up hand-made treasures and homemade edible goodies at the MOT Jean Birch Senior Center's Christmas Bazaar this weekend. The two-day event will feature handcrafted arts and crafts, jewelry, ceramics, crochet and knitted items, fall décor, jams and jellies and quilts.
Visitors will also be able to stock up on homemade soups, sandwiches, chicken pot pie, baked ziti, apple dumplings and pumpkin pie.
IN A NUTSHELL...
- WHAT Christmas Bazaar
- WHERE MOT Jean Birch Senior Center, 300 S. Scott St., Middletown
- WHEN 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday
- ADMISSION Free
- INFO (302) 378-4758