|Gering Merchants’ annual Christmas parade is next week|
|November 21, 2013 Jerry Purvis|
Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Jose Munoz of J&M Stucco reinforces the rebuilt igloo that will again be featured at this year’s Santa’s Village. The company donated their work to finish the popular building that was damaged by high winds two years ago.
The day after Thanksgiving again signals the unofficial start of the holiday season with the eighth annual Christmas Parade through downtown Gering.
“Around the Christmas Tree” is the theme of this year’s parade, which starts at 6 p.m. on Nov. 29. Local businesses and community groups are encouraged to enter floats and there is no cost to participate. Prizes will be awarded for the top three decorated floats.
Entries are asked to be at Gardner Park at 10th and T Streets at 5 p.m. to register. Judging starts at 5:15. At 6 p.m., the parade heads south on 10th St. to the Gering Civic Center and the opening of Santa’s Village. RaNae Garton of the Gering Merchants said anyone who would like to enter a float should contact her at (308) 641-2842 for an entry form.
Back again for a second year is the reindeer, which will be participating in the parade that evening. The animals are hosted by Valley Bank and Valley Insurance. And as always, Santa will take the back of the parade as he heads to Santa’s Village at about 6:30 p.m. to greet all the kids from the community.
“Because the reindeer are back, we’re expecting a big crowd this year,” Garton said. “They won’t be at the Friday night opening, but they will be at Santa’s Village the next day, on Saturday the 30th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for their only appearance this year.”
She also said the buildings in Santa’s Village will be open prior to the parade on Friday evening for the kids to check out while the Christmas tree lights and downtown decorations are lit up for the season. And after a one-year absence, the popular igloo will again be part of the village.
During all of Santa’s visits, Gering Merchants will serve hot chocolate and cookies, along with candy goodie bags for the kids. Parents are invited to bring their cameras for a picture of Santa with their children.
Santa’s Village will be open from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 and Bluffs Broadcasting will be doing a live remote.
Santa’s Village will also be open Dec. 7, 14 and 21 during the same hours. And there’s a mail box for kids to leave their letters to Santa.
Dec. 7 is also when the Legacy of the Plains Museum and the Oregon Trail Museum at Scotts Bluff National Monument hosts their Christmas celebrations. A Pony Express rider will be delivering letters to Santa from Legacy of the Plains to Santa’s Village that morning as well.