Winchester Christmas Parade is Saturday

Published 2:47 pm Thursday, November 30, 2023

Friday may be the start of December, but Saturday is the official kickoff for the holiday season in Winchester.

The annual Winchester Christmas Parade will “Jingle All the Way” down Main Street starting at 6 p.m. following the Clark County Christmas Tree lighting.

According to one of the parade’s organizers, Lauren Mink, Clark Countians can expect the community to be well represented in this year’s version.

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“As of right now, we have 95 registered participants,” she said.

Granted, that figure is quite deceptive.

“One of those could be one vehicle and one of those participants could be 50 Jeeps. So I would say we will have close to 200 moving parts,” Mink said.

According to Mink, those moving parts will include “several Grinches,” plenty of animals, and the return of a float full of Dolly Partons.

“There are also several boats this year, which I think is fun,” Mink said.

Of course, no parade would be complete without a visit from Santa.

“We have been in contact with some of the elves, and I am happy to say that Santa will be in the parade again this year,” Mink said.

At the head of the holiday horde will be the parade’s Grand Marshal

A lot of thought went into who would receive the honor.

“There were several nominees for this year’s Grand Marshal. Our committee, when we think about it, we always think of someone who has really given back to the community in a genuine way,” Mink said.

However, one nominee stood out: Martha Gamble.

“The consensus was that this is a woman for the last 60 years or so has been an intricate part of our community volunteering for nonprofits, giving back her time and her effort,” Mink said.

All parade participants will line up along Depot Street and travel up Main Street toward Boone Avenue.

Mink promises that there will be plenty of good vantage points from which to watch the parade.

“Since it is a continuous parade that does not stop, you really can get a great seat along Main Street,” she said.

This is not Mink’s first year helping plan the parade.

“This is my third year with helping with the Christmas Parade. I think we might have it down this year,” Mink said with a laugh.

She reflected on what it was like to help bring back the parade in 2021 after it was nearly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The last couple of years, I think people are excited to bring it back. You know, with COVID, there were so many things that COVID took away from us, and bringing back this parade a couple of years ago was something I think our community needed,” Mink said.

When Mink and the rest of the organizers took to planning their maiden parade, the tight window to organize forced them to embrace a scaled-down version of the event.

The result was a simple expression of holiday mirth enjoyed by the community.

“We had to take out all of the fluff, and it was purely a joyful community event. There was no competing or contests. People were not stopping, so it was not a three-hour long parade. I have little kids and know that my kids can’t stay out in the cold that long,” Mink said.

And hopefully, this year’s parade will do much of the same.