By Sue Moore
Big changes are in the works for Vicksburg’s kickoff of the holiday season on Saturday, December 5, according to Ken Schippers, village manager. He convinced the organizing committee, headed by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), to begin the parade at 5:30 p.m. to showcase the floats and the village with its spectacular lighting display showing off the downtown.
The committee agreed to this upside down timing–historically the parade has been at 11 a.m.–as long as Vicksburg High’s Big Red Machine marching band participated. Director Ben Rosier agreed to the change. That set the wheels in motion, with Schippers taking charge of the parade and everyone else on the organizing committee assigned a task to complete for the afternoon schedule of events.
Schippers recruited several fire departments to bring their vehicles to the parade. He plans to award a prize for the best-dressed fire truck. That idea has carried over to the best dressed float with first, second, and third monetary prizes being given for the use of light, moving parts, originality/creativity, people/costumes with a float theme. He is hoping this will bring out all kinds of entries that will make for a spectacular parade, with lighting providing the key element.
There will be plenty of activities scheduled from 2 p.m. until the parade kicks off, and then afterwards, a visit for children with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a heated tent in Oswalt Park.
A winter Farmers’ Market will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Community Center; it proved to be very popular in 2014. There will be horse carriage tours, strolling carolers, a children’s Elf workshop at the Community Center, and a kids reading time at the library. Area restaurants are planning specialty Christmas food menus.
The tree lighting in Oswalt Park should take on new brilliance with a few thousand more lights to adorn the big spruce tree. That is scheduled for approximately 6:15, once the parade drops Santa and Mrs. Claus off from their carriage to take requests from the hundreds of children who line up every year to whisper in his ear.
One of the few things that hasn’t changed is the Pub Crawl, planned for the Vault, the Hide-A-Way, and Main Street Pub. Brian Pitts is organizing the event. There will be prizes for those who complete a stop at each location.