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Children's Christmas Parade set for Thursday
Organizers of the city’s annual Children’s Christmas Parade are keeping their fingers crossed, as there is a 20 percent chance of showers forecast the night of the event.
“In the 15 years I’ve been here, we’ve had sprinkles a couple of times but nothing ever canceled,” said Porterville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Donnette Carter. “We’re all going to cross our fingers.”
The roughly hour-and-a-half procession, with a theme of “Wonders of the Season,” will step off at 7 p.m. Thursday evening at Morton Avenue and will march down Main Street to Olive Avenue.
Among the 96 parade entries will be a float created by Hoss McNutt’s Summit Charter Collegiate Academy Odyssey of the Mind team. The entry, titled Rudolph’s Turn to Ride, consists of a 15-foot sleigh driven by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The sleigh is towed by 30-foot airplane piloted by a second reindeer.
“The airplane is way up in the air, and the float has every Christmas light in Porterville,” McNutt said Tuesday, adding that the lights will be powered by two generators.
Additionally, 13 local high school, middle school and elementary school marching bands are expected to participate in this year’s event, marching to the tempo of classic Christmas melodies. The procession will also include entries by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CalFire and Spirit 88.9 KDUV FM, and will conclude with Santa followed by the Granite Hills High School marching band.
All entries are required to include children and will be judged on ingenuity of implementing the parade theme. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first-, second and third-place entries in the religious and nonreligious float categories and trophies to first-, second- and third-place commercial entries.
Nine local nonprofit organizations will have food booths at nearly every intersection along the parade route, selling everything from nachos, to baked goods, to teriyaki on a stick, to hot chocolate. Food vendor registration is limited to nonprofits to provide them with an opportunity to raise funds, but the public is encouraged to also buy from Main Street restaurants, Carter said.
The motoring pubic is encouraged to remove all vehicles from Main Street and adjacent side streets to the alleys east and west of Main Street by 5 p.m. Thursday.
Toys for Tots will be accepting new, unwrapped toys throughout the parade route.
The Children’s Christmas Parade has acted as a major kickoff to the Christmas season in Porterville for more than half a century and is sponsored by the chamber, Rotary Club of Porterville and city of Porterville. Carter said she expects a turnout of about 8,000 to 10,000 people, many of them children.
“Rotary and the chamber maintain that we do this for the children in our community,” she said, “from the children in our marching bands to the little children riding in the parade.”
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, Ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.