Nick Manerchia, executive director of the Middletown Main Street program, has added a tree lighting ceremony and a Star Wars marching group to shake things up for this year’s Christmas on Main Street Festival.
While Middletown always brings in a Christmas tree of its own, it hasn’t held an official tree lighting ceremony in eons. Manerchia has decided that establishing a new tradition will be well received by the community, by having Mayor Ken Branner and Miss Delaware Amanda Debus kick off the ceremony.
“Making memories, to me, is the key,” Manerchia said. “We are on our phones all the time anymore, and the world just flies by. I want people to stop for a moment. Stop and enjoy the ceremony, bring your kids, have a hot chocolate, just stop and enjoy the moment.”
After receiving many requests, Manerchia moved the parade to the week after Thanksgiving, after it has been held on the weekend prior, the previous nine years.
“A lot of people expressed that they would like it after Thanksgiving,” Manerchia noted. “I would agree with them that it’s better, but another plus is that it’s also Small Business Saturday. It just makes sense to bring all of these people here, then to have them stay after to shop and support the local businesses.”
Manerchia has also brought in a Star Wars marching group for the parade, which will begin 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26.
“I’m really excited about them,” said Manerchia. “They’re going to come in and march in the parade in full costumes. Then after the parade, there will be a meet and greet, where people can come and get their pictures taken with them.”
The parade will showcase a host of other groups as well, both marching and those showing off their parade floats, which will be judged at the end of the parade for a multitude of categories. Then, finally, as always, Santa Claus will take his customary fire truck ride down Main Street to bring the parade to a close.