By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — Local children are in for a real treat tomorrow as Santa Claus will be taking some time out of his busy holiday schedule to pay a visit to Carriagetown.
Santa will among the participants in the annual Amesbury Holiday Parade and tree lighting. The festivities get under way starting at 3:30 p.m.
Kids hoping to see Rudolph will be a little disappointed, however. Santa is leaving the reindeer at home and will be riding into Amesbury on a firetruck to cap off the parade.
The theme of this year’s parade is “Christmas Around the World,” which organizers said should give float designers a chance to show off their Christmas spirit with a unique cultural flavor. Adele Faso, one of the lead organizers, said her committee thought the theme would be a good way to engage the community’s young people and to celebrate diversity.
“Every year, we pick a theme, and we’ve done family and friends, so this year we wanted to pick a fun theme,” Faso said.
With 30 international-themed floats, this year’s parade will be double the size of last year’s. It will begin on Greenleaf Street before moving down Sparhawk Street and then Main Street toward Market Square, where the parade will culminate in the lighting of Amesbury’s 40-foot Christmas tree around 4:15 p.m.
The tree has been donated by Tom, Rhonda and David Hodge of 21 Monroe St. Woody Cammett of W.C. Cammett Engineering is sponsoring the tree lighting and Healey, Deshaies, Gagliardi and Woelfel have sponsored the new lights for the tree.
Residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable food, unwrapped toys, blankets and coats with them to the parade. Our Neighbors’ Table, Community Action and the Amesbury Lions Club will be holding collections throughout the event.
“If anybody has coats or anything warm, they’re welcome to bring them and there will be someone there collecting them,” Faso said.
Once the parade is over, the winners of the Best Float competition will be awarded a gift card by the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce that can be used at a number of local establishments. Families can also head to The Provident Bank to meet Santa and enjoy some hot chocolate.
Just prior to the parade, Heat Event Management will host its second Run Santa Run, a 1-mile untimed run through Amesbury starting at 3:25 p.m. Residents are encouraged to dress up as Santa or sport some type of holiday costume and warm up the parade crowd before the floats arrive.
The run will go from the Town Park on Friend Street to the Lower Millyard, and there will be hot chocolate and candy canes available for the participants. Runners also will be given Christmas bells for their shoes. Registration will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Town Park near the ball field. The entry fee is $10 for adults, which supports the parade. All athletes under 10 years old can run for free with an adult. Visit http://heateventmanagement.com/running-of-the-santas for more.