GALLIPOLIS — The annual Gallipolis Christmas Parade is 1 p.m. Saturday and will mark the beginning of Santa Claus’ daily visits in Gallipolis City Park over the course of the next month.
According to Office Manager and Events Coordinator Karen McCarty, of the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, parade participants will start lining up around noon. The Gallipolis Kiwanis Club sponsors the event and the bureau helps organize it.
“We take the registrations and get the lineup ready for Kiwanis,” said McCarty. “The Kiwanis does the actual parade.”
McCarty could not clarify how long the parade had been going on annually, but said it has occurred for as long as she can remember. She said the event has grown over the course of the last five years. In 2010, roughly 50 organizations filed to participate. In 2015, more than 94 organizations have registered to participate, but some of those may have multiple units or floats partaking in the parade. The largest has measured around 10 vehicles.
“One of the highlights this year will be ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) trucks. They take their snowplows to different area schools and the kids paint them. Last year was the first year (this was done). They’ll be returning this year,” McCarty said.
The grand marshal of the parade will include representatives of Gallipolis in Bloom, a nonprofit beautification and gardening group that competes in a national competition every summer.
Tina Merry Diddle, of 93.1 The Wolf, is expected to emcee the parade and will be standing near the clock in Gallipolis City Park as the event begins. She is anticipated to announce organizations as they pass along Second Avenue.
“Santa Claus will be there at the end of the parade and he’ll be on a ladder truck,” McCarty said.
The parade marks the beginning of the season where children will be able to visit the legendary gift -giver in his house in City Park at the corner of Second Avenue and State Street. Santa is scheduled to visit with children after the parade and every day from 2 to 6 p.m. and makes his last appearance Dec. 22 before leaving to prepare for Christmas Eve.
Those wishing to watch the parade should mostly sit along Second Avenue east of City Park as parade participants will line up near GDC and gradually collect more members as they embark toward the park. Parade participants will round the park on Court Street and onto First Avenue before finally dispersing.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.