Before Santa begins checking his list to see who’s been naughty or nice, he and Mrs. Claus spend the Sunday before Thanksgiving as part of Delaware’s annual Christmas parade.
“This year’s theme is ‘Christmas Around the World,’” said Frances Jo Hamilton, executive director of Main Street Delaware, the nonprofit organization that has put on the downtown holiday event for more than 15 years. “We’re trying to do some more international-type events.”
Another international aspect of the parade is this year’s furry marshal. Kaiser won the ‘Pet Walk’ popularity contest from September’s First Friday event downtown.
“He has fans from all over the world,” Hamilton said. “We’ve gotten a lot of exposure from him doing our little Pet Walk. His family has people coming as far as Houston to see him walk in the parade.”
Mary Jane Santos, who recently retired from the Delaware County District Library, will be the grand marshal.
The parade is at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, starting at Mingo Park and goes down Sandusky Street, ending at Wilmer Street.
The next First Friday event downtown is from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4. The event will include horse-drawn carriage rides around the downtown, and a Santa House at the Strand Theatre, 28 E. Winter St. The Claus couple will be on hand to hear Christmas wishes and give out treats.
The highlight of the First Friday will be the annual tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. in the corner plaza at William and Sandusky streets.
“The family that donated the tree this year is a little bit more emotionally attached to it than some of our donors are,” Hamilton said. “Their home has been bought by a developer and they’re clear-cutting the lot. Our Christmas tree is going to be their first Christmas tree from 1989 that they planted in their yard. That was a beautiful beginning and end to an evergreen’s life.”
The Santa House will also be open from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays (Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 19); and 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays (Dec. 11, Dec. 18), and will include the carriage rides. Also look for fire barrels, luminaries and carolers.
“We’ve decked the halls, so bring your Christmas cheer!” said the Main Street Delaware website. “These activities are sometimes the only Christmas experiences local families get.”
Main Street Delaware is accepting tax-deductible donations to continue the holiday events. For more information, visit www.mainstreetdelaware.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.