By Tasha Stewart
Truly proving to be a Christmas miracle, the I Believe in Santa Claus parade is finally on the mend after a widespread decline in participation. However, behind the miracle were countless hours of hard work that went into making the 2017 parade one of the best the community has seen in years.
“[Mike Mitchell and Ellis Gregory] really worked hard. They were out several evenings trying to put it together,” said Mayor David Thompson. “I think everybody really stepped up and are already talking about next year and stepping it up more. I think the council needs to stand up and give them a hand for the great job they did with the parade.”
“A big kudos to Mike Mitchell and the I Believe in Santa Claus crew. That was an awesome parade and I was so glad to see it,” agreed Denise Wainscott, director of tourism.
Among the changes made this year to help turn the parade around include a date change from Thanksgiving weekend to the first Saturday in December. For the first time, prizes were also awarded to the top three floats with $500 going to first place, $250 to second and $125 to third.
“We had 11 the year before last. I took over the first of January last year and we had 29 this year go through the parade. I’m hoping for 50 next year,” said parade organizer Mike Mitchell. “I want to thank the City of Barbourville and Tourism…I just want the City of Barbourville and I Believe in Santa Claus to grow it [the parade] bigger. I’d like to see it way bigger.”
The date for the parade will remain the same, set for the first Saturday in December 2018 alongside Christmas in Barbourville events. It’s not too early to plan for your 2018 float, either. Requirements for floats in the parade include the following:
1. Must follow the holiday theme.
2. Cannot have a Santa Claus on your float because, as always, Santa will make his grand appearance at the end of the parade.
3. Must but let lit with Christmas lights (headlights do not count for cars).
4. Those in the parade are allowed to hand out candy but the parade committee asks that no one throw candy into the crowd.
All questions about the 2018 parade can be directed to Mike Mitchell by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.