COTTONWOOD – It’s that magical time of the year.
For the 63rd year, festive floats, enthusiastic marchers, and trotting horses will make their way through Cottonwood. Along with Santa, of course.
The Christmas Parade strolls through the city Saturday, Dec. 2. This year’s theme is “Magical Christmas.”
Coleen Gilboy, Verde Valley Fair Director, said organizers don’t know how many floats will be in the parade until the day of. But as of Monday afternoon, 70 have signed up.
“Believe it or not, some people do not sign up until the day of the event,” she said.
Organizers expect between 75 to 100 entries, with about 1,000 people walking or riding in the parade, said Gilboy.
This year, the Yavapai County Search and Rescue team will join the parade.
Check in time is 9 a.m. at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds, located 800 E. Cherry St. The parade, departing from the Verde Valley Fairgrounds parking lot, begins at 11 a.m., but it is recommended to be in line by 10:30 a.m. The rule is, Santa is last, said Gilboy of the lineup.
Getting the parade ready is no small task. It takes about an hour and a half just to get the parade out of the parking lot of the fairgrounds. The parade track is approximately 2.25-miles long, with a duration of about an hour and 45 minutes.
The judge’s stand is located at the corner of Mingus Avenue and Main Street, and the parade ends at Main Street and Cactus Street. The Grand Marshall is the Rotary Club of the Verde Valley.
“Rotary supports kids and makes their Christmas magical,” said Gilboy.
Once again, there will be a shuttle for children who are in the parade. Buses will transport the children from Old Town (at the end of the parade route) back to the fairgrounds to be picked up. Gilboy said she was pleased and happy with how well the shuttle service worked last year.
The Christmas Parade is a year-round endeavor. Right after the parade, its committee members make notes on what they want to change for next year. They start looking at who the Grand Marshal will be. By March, the committee will be asked about the theme so that float decorators can get to work.
Parade applications are available at the Cottonwood Chamber Office, located 849 Cove Parkway, Suite C, or online www.CottonwoodChamberAZ.org.