Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Santa Claus is coming to town and so is the parade

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PARADE COORDINATOR Jill Baker talks about the number of participants in this year's parade with Steve Youel, Placerville director of community services. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

From page A1 | November 27, 2013 | Leave Comment

It’s looking a lot like a Christmas parade as plans are finalized for the big event.

Slated for Sunday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m. along Broadway and Main Street, the parade will have something for everyone, including Santa Claus.

The weather won’t be a problem as it’s predicted to be sunny, if a little brisk. So dress accordingly.

So far, 100 different entries are expected in the parade which has as its theme: Christmas — Past, Present and Future. And that’s an apt description of the event which will feature many returning favorites as well as some new entries.

Returning veterans include 4-H clubs, Toys on the Rocks, Imagination Theater, Hangtown A’s, a motorcycle club, six groups of antique cars, International Harvester, a couple of fire departments, two church groups, the Pony Express Riders, Cub Scout troops, the marching unit of James Marshall Chapter of E Clampus Vitus, and dance studio members who will perform en route. Eight equestrian units are slated to ride.

Also returning will be the donkey, Poncho, who will be dressed for the occasion. But you’ll have to attend to find out what Poncho and his owner are wearing this year.

New entries include the California Highway Patrol Mounted Unit from Sacramento, a Zamboni courtesy of Hangtown Holiday Ice Rink, the Traveling Sunshine — a group of mini horses, Hope through Horses, and the Highland Kids.

Of course no parade would be complete without a band. Returning will be a band made up of students from Ponderosa, El Dorado and Union Mine high schools. The other band is a first-time entrant — a community band from Citrus Heights.

Marshaling the parade will be a couple of gunslingers — J. Stirling and Adam Levine. Stirling has been marshalling the Hangtown Christmas Parade since its inception as well as the Wagon Train Parade. Both are former members of the Apple Hill Gang. Other marshals assisting that day will be Buck Kohlstedt, Walt Knorr, Steve Hoffer, Steve Ingram and Gary Dornan.

Kevin Brown from Breaker Glass will be the announcer for the parade. Prepared to be amused as well as entertained as he provides tidbits from the past mixed in with commentary on the parade and information about each entry.

Judging the entries will be the honorable journalist Mimi Escabar and the ebullient columnist Bob Billingsley — both with the Mountain Democrat. Joining them will be Jody Franklin, director of tourism for the El Dorado County Visitors Authority.

Entries will be judged based on attention to the parade theme and the showing of holiday spirit. However, Escabar said the judges are not above bribery and candy, brownies, cookies — basically any holiday treat — will be factored into the scores.

Parade winners will be announced in the Mountain Democrat with the trophies for the winners available for pick up the following week at the newspaper’s office at 2889 Ray Lawyer Drive in Placerville.

Closing out the parade will be Santa Claus. He will be there to remind everyone why Christmas is the happiest time of the year and to join in celebrating the parade’s return as a wonderful community tradition.

The Hangtown Christmas Parade is more than just a wonderful form of entertainment, of course. It also is a vehicle for gathering up gifts as the entry fee for those participating in the parade is a gift for the Toys for Tots campaign. However, parade spectators are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift as well. Gifts should be suitable for a boy or girl from birth up to age 13. Drop-off boxes are located along the parade route as well as near the Belltower.

There are also drop-off boxes set up around town or people can contact Sue or Hollis Henderson, the local coordinators of the drive. For information where other dropoff boxes are located, people can go to the El Dorado County Toys for Tots Website at The Hendersons can also be contacted at 530-344-9384 or e-mailed at

So put away your turkey leftovers and pumpkin pie and head to Placerville with the kids on Sunday for an afternoon of real entertainment.

“We’ve had a lot of great cooperation in pulling together the event and we’re looking forward to the best parade ever,” said Mountain Democrat Publisher Richard Esposito.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.


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