Grab the mittens and throw on a festive scarf – it’s time to bundle up for the much anticipated annual Santa Parade! The big man himself will be making his yearly stop in Chehalis on Saturday, December 7 at 11:00 a.m. Now in its seventh decade, this family-friendly event is all about holiday festivities and good tidings.
This year’s theme is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in honor of current military and military veterans. Please, out of respect with the exception of children, refrain from wearing military uniforms unless you are currently serving or are a military veteran. Enjoy the enchantment of the season with themed floats and more in this nostalgic parade.
This year’s Santa Parade Grand Marshal will be Hometown Heroes who through duty, honor and sacrifice have given a portion of their lives for our freedom.
Excite the kid’s imaginations with the joy of seeing Santa. But don’t listen for the clatter of reindeer hooves on downtown streets. Santa’s sleigh is unavailable, preparing for gift deliveries to all the good children on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, our local firefighters are here to save the day! Look for Santa riding in style atop a big red fire truck.
This local tradition is a fun way to kick off the Christmas season. “It has always been a wonderfully attended event,” says Alicia Bull, Executive Director of the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce. “Our community is really excited about parades in general and holiday cheer.”
And the Santa Parade is just the beginning. Centralia’s nighttime Lighted Tractor Parade is the following Saturday. “A lot of people will do a float with us and then put lights on it, and it looks completely different,” says Bull. “It’s fun for people to participate in both events.”
There’s still time to enter the Santa Parade with the most creative “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” themed float. Registration is available online or at the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.
The annual Santa Parade is also a giving opportunity. The parade participant who is voted “overall best” will receive a $500 check to give to the nonprofit of their choice.
If the weather is chilly, warm up with a hot beverage. A limited quantity of free hot mochas will be distributed at Market St. Bakery compliments of Market St. Bakery and the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.
Regardless of the weather, Market Street Boulevard will be white thanks to a fun snow machine. This winter wonderland is for everyone to enjoy. “It’s a really awesome feel-good event,” says Bull. “The lights and decorations are up downtown, and it looks really festive.”
The creativity of each parade float is a highlight every year. “It’s so fun to have the local high school bands, schools, and youth organizations,” says Bull. “The local businesses get festive and bring out their equipment. Some people work on these floats for months. They call and talk to us about the theme because they plan early getting their floats prepared.”
Popular Masters of Ceremonies Steve Mohney and Ron Hall will announce the parade as it makes its way down Market Street. “They have a lot of holiday cheer and do a good job,” says Bull. “They’re a tradition that falls in line with Santa and they do really make the event extra special.”
This is a great time to get some holiday shopping done locally. Downtown merchants are open with special holiday events and sales. “It’s a great chance to Choose Local First,” says Bull. “Take the extra time and get to know downtown a little better.”
Local families have enjoyed the annual Santa Parade for seven decades. “The community comes together and does a lot that day,” says Bull. “It’s a special time for the city of Chehalis.” Make holiday memories with your family at the annual Santa Parade.