Denver Christmas Parade ushers in holiday season this Saturday

Scene from last year's Christmas parade

The best place to be this Saturday in Denver will be on Highway 16 from Hagers Ferry Road to Triangle Circle as this one-mile stretch of normally busy highway is transformed into the site of the Third Annual Denver Christmas Parade.
While the Saturday afternoon parade highlights the weekend, you can get in the Christmas spirit a day earlier by attending the 12 Days of Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 2). You might just find Jolly Ol’ St. Nick attending as well.
Presented by the East Lincoln Betterment Association (ELBA), the community lighting and parade are free. Businesses have become sponsors of the event to help defray the costs. Judging the “Best of…” parade entries will be completed prior to the parade and awards presented. The awards will be displayed on the winning entries during the parade for spectators to see. Entries will be judged on originality, the best use of the theme “12 Days of Christmas,” effort and entertainment value.
Santa will make an appearance on Friday at the tree lighting that begins at 6 p.m. The parade begins at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 3) and will follow the same route as last year from Highway 16 at North Pilot Knob Road and Hagers Ferry. It will continue one mile north to Highway 16 at Triangle Circle. The float with Santa will be the end of the parade.
Friday night’s Community Tree Lighting will be at Lake Norman Lutheran Church located at 1445 N. Hwy. 16. Local bands and talent will perform Christmas music. Caroling will follow. Come enjoy some hot chocolate and snacks. There will also be a visit from St. Nick, too.
Parade viewers are asked to pull off Highway 16 and walk to a viewing location. Please be considerate of businesses along the parade route and do not block their entrances. The businesses on the parade route between Triangle Circle South and North Pilot Knob Road have agreed to allow parade parking and pick-up afterwards.
Highway 16 will be closed to traffic 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the parade. It will reopen for traffic 15 minutes following the last participant. The new Highway 16 is the detour route to bypass the parade. Traffic to Hager’s Ferry Road can be accessed from Club Drive off Highway 73.
Parade entries will meet at the staging site at Salem United Methodist Church parking lot on North Pilot Knob Road and only parade entries will be allowed on Pilot Knob Road with that road closed to traffic at noon. The lineup will begin at 12.
Floats will be judged by Lincoln County Commissioners at 1:30 p.m.
While a shuttle bus will be available at Triangle Circle South to transport walkers (in the parade) back to the pick-up area at Triangle Circle North in the Carolina Trust Bank parking lot, arrangements should be made with parents to pick up participants. For safety reasons, please do not leave children unattended in the parade staging area.

Some things to know
The parade begins Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Alcohol is prohibited
There will be no distribution of candy from floats or vehicles due to safety precautions although walkers may hand out candy to spectators.
Parade marshals and Sheriff’s office personnel will be stationed along the parade route. If you need help, please ask one of them.
Medical assistance will be on site for anyone needing attention
Please do not leave any trash behind.

Downtown Denver has tree-lighting

If the 2011 Denver Christmas Parade and Community Tree Lighting aren’t enough, you can head to the Downtown Denver Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday (Dec. 3) at 7 p.m. This will be in front of Rock Springs Elementary School. A group of residents have formed the Denver Christmas Banner Committee.
Last year this committee raised money to purchase 75 holiday banners that were hung on utility poles along a one-mile stretch surrounding the crossroads of Highway 16 and Campground Road. This year, they raised funds to purchase lights for the tree that will be in front of the school.
They hope to continue to expand their efforts in years to come to include things like a live nativity scene, caroling, food and the appearance of Santa.

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